Regardless of your profession, planning is mandatory for success. From surgeons to PR professionals, failing to plan will promise to give you a wealth of headaches.
I experienced one of these such headaches last week when it was 4 p.m. on a Friday and we didn’t have space for an event that was less than two weeks away. Backup plans and analyzing risk should be part of your routine when planning out schedules, events and pretty much anything else. Here are my tips when preparing for a presentation, meeting or whatever your need might be.
- Write down any and all things that could go wrong. When I was an account executive at PRowl Public Relations, anytime we had an event, we listed out everything that could go wrong and what we would do if it did. This ensured that each member of the team was prepared to handle any unexpected challenges.
- Have communications ready in case all of things that could go wrong actually do. Sometimes things happen in an instance and you need to fire off communications to target audiences immediately. Having these already drafted and patiently waiting in a Word document will save you the time.
- Do your homework. If you’re presenting at a meeting, know the target audience and what questions they might ask. Also, do not read off a piece of paper, it’s not professional. If you’re planning an event, know all the venue and hotel options in case your preferred venue cancels.
- Hold a debrief after the meeting or event concludes. If you presented at a meeting, ask the audience for feedback and evaluate yourself too. Post event debriefs are pretty much essential so the team can evaluate its success and see what they could improve upon in the future.
Regardless of your profession, planning needs to be ingrained into your brain to guarantee success. As part of this, you should be organized, keep a calendar and communicate clearly. My friend and mentor, Jason Mollica, provides more planning tips here on his video blog.
What tips do you have when it comes to planning? How has it impacted your profession? Please share your ideas!
I am beyond blessed to have both of my grandparents as a part of my life. Well into their eighties, both Grandma and Grandpa are active and enjoy life to the fullest. So when Grandpa didn’t want to go to his Sons of Italy meeting alone Tuesday night, I was completely willing to tag along and more importantly, drive at night.
I had no idea what to expect at this meeting. Grandpa is very much a jokester and didn’t provide any details other than there would be pizza. But, once everyone got settled, it was clear that their meeting resembled many meetings I sat in during college. During most of my college career, I was an active member of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and sat on their executive board my senior year. Sitting in the Sons of Italy meeting quickly reminded me of my PRSSA e-board days. Here are some of the parallels I found between the two:
- Organization: The president had an outline of what she wanted to discuss and tried very hard to stay on topic. She also handed out fliers with upcoming dates and information to all the members. Back in PRSSA, our president prepared agendas for us and kept us on topic (or tried to!). In both instances, being organized helped to get things accomplished.
- The Importance of Fundraising & Recruitment: During Grandpa’s meeting, there was a lot of talk about how to fundraise and recruit new members. Their chapter was really struggling with both. I gave a few suggestions that PRSSA used however it proved to be harder since their members are older and not all about social media. But, it showed me that fundraising and recruitment are important to every organization and can be challenging at times regardless of the type of organization.
- Having fun: We probably had too much fun at our PRSSA executive board meetings but so did the Sons of Italy. Grandpa cracked jokes the entire time, people responded with witty comments and everyone laughed. My personal favorite was two ladies arguing about how one saved a seat for the other and she completely walked past the seat and her friend who saved it. This was a weekly occurrence at PRSSA e-board meetings. So was kicking each other under the table!
My experience at the Sons of Italy meeting was enlightening and fun. I was reminded that there are other organizations out there besides professional ones and they function the same way. Running a meeting, regardless of the topic, requires certain skills and ideas that must be discussed. I’m so glad I got to spend the night with Grandpa and plan on continuing date night in the future.
Grandpa & I at my birthday last year. He’s the best!