An old college friend of mine recently asked me for some advice for a 1-on-1 meeting he was about to have with his boss about a possible promotion. (Let’s all cross our fingers that he gets it!) My advice to him was that the process for preparing for a 1-on-1 meeting is the same:
- Do your audience analysis. What does your audience member want to know? What about the individuals that they report to? What organizational interests are they enforcing? Who else will be affected by what you say in the meeting? Who could block you? Support you?
- Craft your storyline and storyboard. What do you want to say? Structure it using one of the great story structures.
- Design your materials. Will your materials be printed or on screen? On a laptop or a projected screen? Make sure your content is legible. If your document is going to have a life beyond your 1-on-1 meeting with individuals you won’t be presenting to, make sure the detail is on your pages. If all ultimate audience members are going to be presented to in your meeting, use less text. As my old mentor Gene Zelazny reminds his students, “You are your presentation.”
- Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. This is when you find out if what you’re planning to say comes off oddly; if you need to edit your charts; if you’re saying too much for the time allotted. You’ll learn how to navigate technical difficulties. This is also how you combat nervousness. Even the best presenters get frozen with anxiety. If you’ve rehearsed enough time,s you’ll be able to go into autopilot so no one knows you’re that anxious.
This rehearsal may be different than a stand up presentation, though. You may be sitting across from your audience or flipping through your laptop while sitting next to the person you are presenting to. You can still rehearse and practice good posture.