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September 02, 2009

Prepare Better for High-Stakes Meetings

Here's a checklist from The Eloquent Woman that she uses to prepare herself for every presentation she gives.  As I was reading it, I realized that her list isn't just for presenters.  Instead, it is the perfect preparation for nearly every client meeting, negotiation and court appearance. 

My favorite section are the questions about intent:
  1. Do I know what the audience wants from me?

  2. Is that what I'm going to give them? Do my goals match theirs? If not, why am I speaking to them? How will I reach them?

  3. What do I want to get out of this speaking experience?

  4. What do I need to learn from the audience? How will I find out?

  5. Do I intend to engage the audience? Do I just want them to listen? Do I intend to get them to act on something?
Before your next high-stakes meeting, answer each question, first replacing "Audience" with Client, Judge or even Opposing Counsel.  I suspect you'll gain answers that make asking the questions worthwhile. 


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It's great to see these ideas crystallized in short form, rather than the much-more-muddled version that exists in my head. This is certainly a great roadmap for lawyers who have to sell their ideas to one audience after another. Focus and brevity in the courtroom are becoming more important every day, and this is another tool to achieve those goals.

Thanks for this, Matthew--and you're quite right. Preparation for a speech translates well to any important presentation or talk, even if it's one-on-one. A hat tip to your point is here:

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