Businessman testing a microphone about to make a speach at a press conferenceWhen the stakes are high, we prepare. Whether it is a presentation to a large audience or a meeting with a key client or prospective client, we know we will be more successful if we prepare.

  • What exactly does it mean “to prepare”?
  • When aren’t the stakes high?
  • When we focus on content and not on our audience, are we really prepared?

Last week, I had the opportunity to hear a speaker and deliver a presentation of my own, where in both cases, the content was outstanding and yet the message was not received well by most of the audience. These two experiences reminded me of two important facts:

Delivery always matters – It’s not enough to prepare our content. It is at least as important to consider the audience, prepare our delivery and adjust midstream as we read the audience reaction. Not easy to do, and yet, critical to having our message heard.

Prepare for every interaction as though the stakes are high, because they are – Every interaction with another human being, either as a group or with individuals, matters. When we are fully present, we listen, we adapt and thus can be effective.


Elisa K. Spain

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