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You can never be too prepared going into a meeting and you might as well not go at all if you aren't going to take the time to prepare. I have a meeting with a potential client for an important keynote speech in late January. I can do this speech and present myself blind-folded, with my hands tied behind my back, but so can most speakers. What I do differently is prepare specifically for the people I am meeting—something you can do whether you are a speaker, in sales, a consultant or looking for a job.

Here are six ways to be better prepared before the meeting:

  • Confirm the date, time, location and who will be in the meeting with your point of contact. Do this a few days before the meeting. You look disorganized and as if you don't care if you wait until you are getting ready to leave the house an hour before the meeting.
  • Google the map and directions at least a day prior. Be sure you know what time you need to leave and get to the meeting a few minutes early. Get online and look up traffic problems and construction prior to leaving.
  • Pack everything you need to take with you or at least have a list to use before you leave to make sure you have all you need. Again, don't wait until the last minute. Do it the night before if it is a morning meeting or first thing in the morning if it is an afternoon meeting.
  • Research the company and everyone who will be in attendance, including the executive assistant, on Google, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Give yourself a good hour or more to do this and do it a few days in advance if you have the luxury of that time. This will give you time to think about what you need to do and say—and if you need to contact someone else, maybe a mutual acquaintance, for more information.
  • Watch the news or scan the headlines before you leave for the meeting to see if there is anything happening in the world that relates to you, your meeting, their company or the people you are meeting with. If there is, you will appear sharp and on top of things in the meeting.
  • Most importantly, ask yourself these three questions:
    1. What is your purpose for going to this meeting? Be clear in your own mind why you are going into this meeting. If something else comes of it, great, but have a good idea of why you are doing this in the first place. For me? I want this speech.
    2. Who can give you what you want or need to achieve your meeting goal? Try to find out before hand which one in the meeting is making the final decision. It's the executive assistant who found me and wants me to do the speech but it is the C-level executives in the meeting who will make the final decision.
    3. What's in it for them? Make sure your presentation or sales pitch answers this question—what's in it for them—more profit, makes the decision maker look better, etc. What is the decision maker's goal? The speech I am pitching is for a sales conference so I need to explain how my presentation will ultimately increase sales for the company.

This is a simple list you can follow for any meeting, even a networking event. Best of all, the more you do it, the more it becomes a habit. A good habit.

You can prepare for a meeting with Dayna (or hire Dayna for a speech) by following her on Twitter @daynasteele or visiting her website at