How many times have you said…I’m so busy I don’t even have time to think! If that sounds like you or someone you know, my advice is to think again. Whether we’re as busy as we tell others or not, it’s a costly mistake to not carve out time to think and instead resort to winging it. As I often tell my clients, every meeting or phone call is a form of a presentation. Therefore, it serves us well to be prepared and that means thinking in advance.

Today I had a scheduled phone call with a prospect so I did some homework in the form of the following seven points:

1. Researched my prospect (and her employer) online to better understand who they are and what matters to them.

2. Kept the prospect’s website up on my computer screen ready for navigation during our phone call.

3. Brought up key documents on my computer (that I’d previously emailed to the prospect) for easy reference, as needed.

4. Made a list of potential questions I might be asked and gave careful thought to my responses.

5. Made a list of several questions I wanted to pose to learn about their expectations.

6. Found an online photo of my caller to have in front of me during our conversation to ensure I was fully focused and better able to connect.

7. Remembered to ask about next steps to ensure our phone call had staying power.

BONUS: After the scheduled call with the prospect, I expressed gratitude for the time and then noted the agreed upon follow-up steps on my calendar.

As stated earlier, every phone call and meeting is a form of presenting. My job is always to be prepared, which helps me sound my best. The most critical part is giving myself thinking time. So what do you think? As always, I look forward to your questions and input.