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Performance Prep

by Randall Craig on June 17, 2008

Filed in: Blog, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Planning

Tagged as: , ,

A pilot does a pre-flight check. Musicians tune their instruments. Radio announcers do a sound check. But what type of prep do you do before your performance?

Your performance can be anything from going to work every day, to going to an interview, to an important sales call, to delivering a status report on a project. Each of these activities (and others) are different, but there are underlying elements that are common to all:

  • Set objectives: Before your performance, make sure that you understand the reasons for it in the first place. If you are giving a presentation, is it to inform, convince, rationalize, motivate, or to entertain? If you set specific objectives beforehand, it’s more likely you’ll achieve them.
  • Do your homework: Make sure that you know your subject matter perfectly. This means spending time – and not just the day before.
  • Set expectations: No one likes a surprise, so let everyone know what to expect. This can be done with a formal agenda, a heads-up in the hallway, or a quick email beforehand.
  • Watch the clock: Respect others’ time by showing up when you say you will, and not overstaying your welcome.
  • Look the part: Why not make sure that your first impression is the right one? First, choose the impression you would like to create (professional, friendly, powerful, helpful, etc), and then choose clothing that reflects it.
  • Focus: Unless the reason for your meeting is broad and general, laser in on your purpose; otherwise you may find yourself out of time – and a reputation for not getting to the point.
  • Practice: if the meeting is that important, why not run through your notes with a colleague, do a mock interview, or maybe even record yourself beforehand?

This week’s action item: Performances don’t just happen at work. Our most important performances are often with our friends and family. While you don’t have to do ALL of the preparation every time, try at least one new item before your performance – on the job or off.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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