prepared

The Value of Being Prepared

Being prepared is an immeasurable asset in any field or situation. Alexander Graham Bell said it best, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” So we know that being prepared can help us be successful in our endeavors, but sometimes that’s easier said than done. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at a few simple ways to be more prepared for meetings, presentations, and projects.

 

Meetings

Oh, the dreaded meeting. They can be a chore, but they can always be improved! As an instructional designer, I attend my fare share of meetings, so I have made it my mission to make those meetings as efficient and painless as possible. Here are a few ways that I’ve found preparedness to be extremely helpful in the case of a meeting.

 

  1. Communication: Communicating with your client beforehand is an invaluable asset when going into a meeting. Be sure that you’re aware of who your client is, what you’re meeting about, and the expected outcome before even stepping foot in the meeting.
  2. Have an Agenda (but be flexible): We all know that agendas can be either wonderful or terrible based on how they’re approached. Preparing for a meeting beforehand by creating an agenda helps keep everyone on track. However, it’s important to be open to new ideas. The key here is knowing the limit. If someone wants to suggest a new, ‘outside the box’ solution to an agenda item, let them! But if someone feels the need to talk about how the new budget proposition is going to affect the type of feed they buy for their bunny, it’s probably a good idea to get back on track as quickly as possible.

 

Using these simple tips to prepare yourself for a meeting ahead of time will help the meeting stay on track and ensure that no one’s time is wasted.

 

Presentations

Being adequately prepared for a presentation is a given, right? But even being prepared to present ahead of time isn’t always enough. Here are a few tips to prepare before, during, and after the training so that you- and more importantly, your learners- get the most out of the training.

  1. Know your Audience: Knowing your audience can have a huge impact on the way that your presentation is received. Are the people in your audience staff, faculty, clients, coworkers, or customers? By knowing who they are, their needs and learning styles, you will be able to give a presentation that is sure to be remembered because it was tailored specifically for that audience.
  2. Do a Run-Through: Practicing is one of the best and easiest ways to be prepared for a presentation. If I am working on a presentation, I always try to do a practice presentation before I do the real thing. This helps you iron out the wrinkles that you may not have noticed in development and has the potential to make your presentation exponentially better.
  3. Ask Questions: There are answers in life that you may never come to without asking questions to find it. In the case of presentations, asking for feedback can be a simple, effective way of preparation. If you’re giving a presentation that is broad, ask your learners ahead of time what they’re looking to gain out of your presentation.This will give you the ability to prioritize the learner’s needs so that they learn what is important to them.

 

Overall preparing yourself for presentations is extremely important and has a substantial payoff for both you and your learners.

 

Projects

Depending on the scope and type of a project, being prepared can be tricky. But there are always a few things you can do ahead of time that will help you in the long run.

 

  1. Study Up: When working on a project, research is key in being prepared. Learn as much as you possibly can to prepare you before the project begins and it will help you a lot.
  2. Lay it All Out: Laying out instructions, resources, research, and tools before beginning a project can be a huge advantage and help it go quickly and efficiently. Similar to the way chefs lay out ingredients before beginning a challenging recipe, laying out all elements of a project beforehand will give you a better idea of what you’re working with.
  3. Ask Around: Never be afraid to ask people who have done something before you! Ask experts, friends, and colleagues. Their advice can help prepare you ahead of time for anything that you may not have thought of before. Always take advantage of the opportunity to lean on others.

There are many ways that you can prepare yourself for situations in the professional world. I hope that these few tips prove helpful to you. If you have any tips yourself, please share!

Savannah is a Graphic Design Professor at Gila Community College, and is passionate about using design to better the world around her. She believes in researched design, and is a major proponent of paper before pixel. In her spare time, she enjoys painting, designing for small businesses and non-profits, and attempting any DIY she finds on Pinterest.

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