Regarding his more-than-noticeable glitch in the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics, Konstantin Ernst says it’s no big deal.
The entire world disagreed.
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 figured Russia would make sure that Ernst pay for his screw-up in the ultimate manner (in fact, a fake news website fooled everyone into thinking Ernst had met an untimely death). Alas, Ernst lives to tell the story – and to serve as an historic example of what can happen if you’re not 100% prepared for a critical opportunity to shine.
With all this in mind, I asked this essential question to respected members of the business community: When your big career moment comes, 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)
On the eve of your next pivotal career moment, check off this list; leave nothing to chance.
1. The Big Picture
“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.”
– Anthony Mongeluzo, President – PCS
2. Worst Case Scenario
“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.”
– Jonas Falk, Chef/CEO — OrganicLife
3. Triple Play
“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.”
– Jason Swett, CEO — Snip Salon Software
4. Understand the Crowd
“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.”
– Alvin Rohrs, CEO — Enactus
5. Practice Makes Perfect
“Go some place private and practice your presentation by going through every step. Time it. Record it. Play it back.”
– John J. Brady, Executive Director and Principal – Protem Partners, LLC
6. Know What Matters
“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.”
– Marsha Lindsay, CEO – Lindsay Stone & Briggs
7. Always Have a Purpose
“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.”
– Amy Balliett, Co-Founder – Killer Infographics
8. Mind and Body
“Get rest before the big meeting or presentation…Eat healthy. I never show up on an empty stomach.”
– Saraí Flores, Founder — SIGNATURE
“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.”
– Andrew Maltin, CEO — MEDL Mobile
9. Study Up
“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.”
– Sandra Fathi, President and Founder – AFFECT
How do YOU prepare to be successful?
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For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at News to Live By!
About the Author: Danny Rubin is the creator and writer of News To Live By, a blog for Millennials that highlights the career advice and leadership lessons “hidden” in the day’s top stories. In one short-and-sweet column, Danny recaps a top news story and explains how it can make us better at our jobs. He’s a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and Business Insider, and his work has also been featured in The New York Times. Follow News To Live By on Twitter.