Different can be really good

talking at desk2

I was reminded recently…

Trust myself.

Listen carefully to what I think is important.

Allow myself to be who I am.

Follow my instincts about the best way forward.

Let go of any fear of being different.

Open to the possibility that my way might just be what the world is hungry for.

I had a really important meeting a couple of weeks ago. I’d been putting a lot of pressure on myself over it. In a way I had been preparing for the meeting for months. However, I couldn’t get my ideas to come together in the way people expect – capture your strategy and your plan in PowerPoint presentation that you can present to your executive for approval.

The day before the meeting I had nada. Well, that’s not true. I had the result of about 8 different attempts to capture my ideas. I’d done the standard PowerPoint. Blah. I tried presi – ended up just being a fancy Powerpoint. No energy, no zip. Not terribly compelling. I got help creating a video. Nope, that’s still not it. I built out an analogy – insufficient. I created lots of smartgraphics and diagrams to capture objectives and models and approaches. B-O-R-I-N-G.

So I cleared my calendar. I sat at my desk. An empty notepad in front of me. I sat there, still, quiet, leaning in, and I asked myself “What do you want?” Hmm… I want to share some key ideas, to run my high level plans by her, to get her perspective, to have a discussion. So, I began to wonder, do we really need any props to do that in a 30-minute call?  Don’t know, but there was an opening.

I focused some more. “What is it that you want to share?” I wrote a bunch of stuff down. I tightened it up. Can I get it to 3 points? Our CEO is a great role model of the power of 3 key points. Yes.  Got it: 3 key changes I want to support. I’d found that place where clarity starts to show up.

Next question, “What else?” I want to ensure my priorities align with the direction she thinks we need to go. More writing, more tightening. Got it: 3 key priorities. Remembered something from a consulting class oh-so-many years ago – last question is key: “What’s your ask?” OK. Yes, perfect closer: “What do you need from her?” That’s easy: 2 things.

And, then, there it was: 3 key changes, 3 key priorities, 2 asks. I prepared 3 PowerPoint slides with this information, thinking I would use them to support the discussion by building them during an online instant meeting. The day of the call she wasn’t online. Plan B: just before the call I sent her the talking points. She’s not connected and doesn’t get them in time. So there it is. The call happened with no presentation! We didn’t need even the 3-page presentation to have a strategic discussion. Because I’d thoughtfully prepared, I was able to share what I believed was important in a way that was really crisp and to the point. How awesome it felt to simply have a conversation!

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4 thoughts on “Different can be really good

  1. Vivki, this is Rad 😉
    I love your building up the story of preparation turmoil, and how Murphy stuck his fingers in where it would hurt – and the fact that ‘all went well’ – because you did not need to lean on any foils. It reminds me of situations where teaching/presenting, where your hard-disk suddenly fails… knowing the content by heart is a great help. And of course, your learning points about really cutting the crab, and get to the core is worth noting & adopting ‘for everyone with a mission’.

  2. You may have taken a circuitous route to the end success, but the twists and turns of that route blossomed into a great learning experience. Bravo!

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