When St. Patrick's Day comes around, we inevitably hear a lot about luck. Personally, I love the idea of luck. We all hope to find the four-leaf clover that will make us "lucky." If luck wasn't such big business, chances are we wouldn't have the lottery, or slot machines, or free ticket giveaways. We wouldn't have a lot of things, if we didn't believe in luck.
Luck isn't a bad thing; there's no need to dismiss the idea entirely. But personally, I like the idea of luck put forward by Oprah Winfrey:
"I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity."
That preparation piece is so important. It's where we can actually impact and take control of something as intangible as luck. Without preparation, we're basically approaching a situation just hoping that things turn out OK, fingers crossed that luck might find us.
How often do we approach our communication with only the idea of luck to help us? How often are we just "winging it," hoping that everything turns out the way we want it to?
If luck really is preparation meeting opportunity, how can we help create a bit of our own luck through preparation? Here are some ways you can prepare for some lucky outcomes with strong business communication skills (fingers crossed!):
1. Rehearse: Whether for a presentation, a difficult conversation, a pitch, or a meeting, make sure that the moment of your communication is not the first time you've said the words you need to say! The best outcomes occur when you've rehearsed your content beforehand. Practice with a colleague, or on your own. Solo rehearsal can be greatly helped by recording — video, audio, or both. Use what you can.
2. Reread: Even if you think you're just shooting off a quick email or text, take 2 seconds and reread your content. Everyone makes mistakes, but errors in spelling (especially of names!), grammar, or facts (like meeting information, for example) can impact the reception of your business communication. Rereading is an important preparation step to avoid leaving written communication to chance.
3. Research: I remember having a discussion with someone who, for some reason, took an odd pride in their refusal to research a person or company before they met with them. These were people with whom they had an appointment scheduled; it wasn't a surprise. They thought it was better to just "get to know" each other in the moment.
It's so easy now to do a quick search and become a bit educated on the person you are about to meet. Not only does this bit of preparation show that you are interested in this interaction, but it means you can have an informed discussion about business.
4. Recite: Ever wonder how some presenters and speakers can breeze through difficult names or phrases, while others suffer an "Adele Dazeem" moment? Recite names or tricky word combos ahead of time, until you're comfortable saying them. That prep will keep you from verbally stumbling while you speak, and ensure that you appear professional and prepared.
How do you feel about luck? Do you wing it, or are you one who prepares to meet opportunity? Let us know in the comments below!
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