The only way to find time to plan properly

30th October 2012

I recently watched an interview with film director Gary Ross, who gave a great insight into how to make films that audiences will love.

In effect, he said that the only way to get exactly/very close to what he wanted was to plan in advance of shooting. If he doesn’t do this, he knows he’ll make key decisions based on logistics and what seems do-able, rather than deciding based on a clear vision.

And of course this is true for all critical communications. Plan early, think ahead, get a clear vision, develop a clear theme, identify the best way to convey your main messages, and so on.

If you don’t plan early enough, you’re more likely to make your decisions based on logistics and what seems do-able. I mean, which will produce a better communication:

  • Asking “what are my key messages?”, or “what slides have I got that I can use in the time I’ve got left?”
  • Asking “out of all my options, what is the best way to explain this?”, or “what’s the quickest way to pull this together?”
  • Asking “have I left myself enough time to do a third – or even fourth – version?”, or “have I left myself enough time to do one?”

This sounds obvious, but doesn’t happen as often as it should (or there wouldn’t be so many last-minute, late night rewrites).

And the only way to make sure you do prepare early enough? Diarise it. If you don’t, you have to fit it round the diary – and this just never happens.

Action Point

Identify the most important communication you have to deliver this year. Ensure you’ve diarised your prep early enough, so you make decisions based on what’s best, not what’s possible in the time you have left.

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