I’m a firm believer in the power of preparation and practice, because these occasions offer you the opportunity to shine. But what about when you are faced with an impromptu presentation?
You might be asked for your opinion, or to give a summary of what’s happening in your department or on a specific project -- with no advance warning at all ... no time to prepare or practice.
You certainly can’t be expected to have all the facts and figures for anything one of your bosses might ask at your fingertips, can you?
On the other hand, participating in meetings with your well-considered -- and yes, prepared opinions is one of the most important ways to make yourself known within your company, and position yourself favorably for advancement and success.
Nobody likes being put on the spot, being caught unprepared, or sounding like they don’t know what they’re talking about, but these challenges abound in business. Learn how to turn them to your advantage with the help of the mnemonic device PREP.
First, always pause to gather your thoughts. Don’t worry, you won’t look unprepared -- you will look thoughtful, which is a good thing.
- Point of View, Position, or Proposition: give yours as clearly as possible. (We all know you have one.) Start strong by specifically considering and answering the question you were just asked.
- Reason: why do you support the opinion you just gave? If you do have the facts and figures at your fingertips, now’s the time to offer them, and prepare to dazzle your bosses! (If you don’t quite have them at your fingertips but could get them, offer to do just that and follow through immediately after the meeting concludes.)
- Explanation or Example: Add any information that reinforces your reasons.
- Point of View, Position, or Proposition: That’s right, restate the position you began with when closing, to remind everyone of your main point.
Any time you are invited to a meeting, conference, or company event where you might be asked to respond to a question, you can now prepare in advance!
That way, if you are caught by surprise, you can avoid rambling, sounding unprepared, or worse yet -- sticking your foot in your mouth.
By using this PREP format, you’ll come across as organized, clear, confident, sure of yourself, and persuasive.