A recent experience reminded me why preparation matters to all of us heading into an important meeting, presentation, or even a networking event. I called a client to set up time to prepare for an important meeting. The client didn’t understand why we needed to meet and thought we would meet with the other side and see what they had to say. Even though this is a common misconception, it reminded me that many people don’t prepare and just wing it. Many of those people thinks that’s how most people do it. That’s how most people do it who end up not obtaining the outcome they hoped for.

Based on my client’s response, I had to explain why preparation matters if she wanted to achieve the best possible result. In this instance the meeting involved a negotiation between two people with a similar main goal in a situation where only one could reach it. The type of negotiation we were going to be involved in requires strategy and therefore calls for preparation and planning. As I explained to my client, why wouldn’t you prepare for such an important meeting?

It begs the question as to why any of us wouldn’t prepare for an important event or conversation. Defining your goals, knowing the message you want to communicate, and trying to roadmap responses to anticipated obstacles provides a foundation to work from instead of winging it. It allows you to make sure you and your positions are understood and will set you up to achieve your goals or desired results.

In the big picture, being known as someone who is prepared also will bolster your reputation and what others who deal with you think about you. And remember, reputation is everything.

So prepare, prepare, prepare, and see where it gets you. If not you stand a great chance of living what Benjamin Franklin smartly said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”