Konstantin Ernst says it’s no big deal, but the entire world would care to disagree.
Ernst, the creative director behind the opening ceremonies in Sochi, flatly dismissed his Olympic-sized mistake — failing to open all five rings at the pinnacle of Russia’s highly-anticipated performance.
Plenty of people figured Ernst would pay for his screw-up with an untimely end. In fact, a fake news website fooled everyone into thinking that actually happened.
Alas, Ernst lives to tell the story and serve as an historic example of what can happen if you’re not 100% prepared for a critical opportunity.
I asked this essential question to people in the business community: how do you prepare to be successful?
Below are nine brilliant responses that apply to any scenario when you need to be “on,” including:
- Job interview (where you should ask these four questions)
- Big presentation (where you should never, ever do this)
- Major speech/written assignment (I hope you’re not using these two words…or this one)
On the eve of your next pivotal career moment, check off this list and leave nothing to chance.
1. The Big Picture
Anthony Mongeluzo, President – PCS
“Create a rough idea either in your mind or on paper about the major points you want to cover. This SEEMS obvious, yet it’s stunning that so many people miss this common-sense approach.”
2. Worst Case Scenario
Jonas Falk, Chef/CEO — OrganicLife
“I think of the hardest, most difficult question that might come up in the meeting and make sure I have a solid, well-thought out response to that question. While you can never anticipate all the questions you may get, knowing you have solid responses to hard questions will ease your mind and prepare you to nail both the easy and hard questions.”
3. Triple Play
Jason Swett, Founder and CEO — Snip Salon Software
“What I do is to nail down three main points I want to convey to the audience. If I commit those three points to memory, I know I have a solid framework on which to hang the rest of my presentation, and not every detail has to be perfect in order for the talk to be successful.”
4. Understand the Crowd
Alvin Rohrs, CEO — Enactus
“Know your audience. Business leaders who become successful always know how to interact with different people and how to cater their communication to individual preferences. This shows that the leader has taken time to learn how others prefer to communicate and get work done.”
5. Practice Makes Perfect
John J. Brady, Executive Director and Principal – Protem Partners, LLC
“Go some place private and practice your presentation by going through every step. Time it. Record it. Play it back.”
6. Know What Matters
Marsha Lindsay, CEO — Lindsay Stone & Briggs
“My prep goal? Identifying something of value for the person with whom I’m meeting: A question that helps them see things differently. A relevant article. A potential solution to a situation in which they find themselves. The name of someone I could introduce them to who could help them be more of who they are or aspire to be.”
7. Always Have a Purpose
Amy Balliett, Co-Founder – Killer Visual Strategies
“If I’m using PowerPoint, I make sure that any animations or transitions have purpose that will further drive my point home and engage the audience.”
8. Mind and Body
Saraí Flores, Founder — SIGNATURE
“Get rest before the big meeting or presentation… Eat healthy. I never show up on an empty stomach.”
Andrew Maltin, CEO — MEDL Mobile
“I typically schedule important meetings in the late morning before lunch and after a light and healthy breakfast. That’s when I am at my best.”
9. Study Up
Sandra Fathi, President and Founder – AFFECT
“Know the material. Nothing can make you feel more confident than knowing the material that you are presenting inside and out. Whether it is a product pitch, a sales pitch, or a political forum, the more you know about the topic, the stronger you will be able to make your case. Be armed with facts, statistics, research and insights that aren’t just personal opinions.”
How do YOU prepare to be successful? Share with the rest of us!