The countdown is on for the 52nd Super Bowl, which will be played Sunday in Minneapolis. It's an enormous production, necessitating an estimated 112,000 truckloads of goods to stock the U.S. Bank Stadium and countless other venues hosting ancillary events. But when it comes to business, much can be learned about how to prepare for a meeting by looking at how the NFL does it. That's according to Maureen Hoersten, COO at LaSalle Network, a staffing, recruiting and culture firm. Here are her words on how to train for a big work event according to how the best players in football operate before the biggest game of their lives.
1. Always be training.
Football athletes playing the Super Bowl don't start practicing the week or day before, they're training year-round. The same applies for preparing for a big meeting or work event. Everything you've done in the year has prepared you for this day, all the calls, meetings, conversations and research. Think back to various experiences you had throughout the year and use that. Think about meetings you had where you thought it was going great, and then it took a turn. How did you recover? Or a phone call, or door knocking, whatever. You're training throughout the year for these bigger events.
2. Do your research.
Players look at film, they research the strengths and weaknesses of not only the offensive and defensive players, but the coaches of those groups, too. They want to know what strengths they'll be up against, but what opportunities there are with the players' and coaches' weaknesses. They research the team or coach's reputations and how the team and players are viewed by the public. If there's anything being said about them in the media. Players want to know the inside scoop. Same goes with a meeting. You should want to get the right information to ensure you have different topics for the meeting, or knowledge on the topics to stay away from. You want to know the backgrounds of all the people you will be meeting with. Go beyond LinkedIn and research any press they've been mentioned in or articles they've written.
3. Prepare, practice and role play.
Have you ever heard of a player jumping right into the Super Bowl after missing practices? It's not any different for a big meeting. You must practice, practice, practice. Role play several times, and in several different ways. To yourself in the shower or car. To family and friends. With the materials and without. If you're role playing at work, be sure it's with someone more senior, otherwise you may not be pushed or challenged in the same way. You want a role play to be uncomfortable and do it enough until it becomes comfortable.
If you are using technology, test it the day before and the morning of. Make sure you have all the right equipment and information necessary to pull up whatever you need. Because technology isn't perfect, always bring a printed copy of the presentation for all meeting attendees. Also, just like a coach has plays, create what your play is for meeting, the outline you want to stick to. Consider potential ways the meeting can veer off that outline and how you'd get it back on track.
4. Get the location right.
God forbid you show up for the game at the wrong stadium...or state! Always know where you're going and get there on time. Account for construction, traffic or any security you have to get through. If you need to drive to the location the day before to check it out, do so. The worst thing you can do is show up for the meeting to an empty office building the company moved out of three months prior.