When you set your Gateways, you should expect the unexpected and build in contingencies and flexibility.

When preparing, it is possible to mentally and physically rehearse what you will do if things start to go wrong, as well as rehearsing the perfect performance.

As an example, imagine you have created a fantastic presentation on your computer.

You get up to present in front of a large audience.

You feel the intense, nervous excitement of speaking in public.

Then your computer crashes…

You need to deal with this situation there and then without having a nervous breakdown!

If you have prepared for the unexpected, you will have a plan to deal with this kind of scenario.

This “Plan B” allows you to deal with the situation in a way that you are familiar with.

It can also earn you more respect.

I used this to support a colleague of mine when he was demonstrating complex software.

If he had a technical problem, I would step in and talk about one of our books and how it could help those watching his presentation.

This had the effect educating our audience and so increasing our stature as well as supporting him.

It is always possible – and important – to develop an alternative in the event of things going wrong: your presentation crashing or you leaving a prop or lucky charm that you depend on at home.

One way of developing consistency in preparation is to develop checklists, in the same way that pilots have a pre-flight checklist that they work through before every flight.

This checklist ensures a consistent approach to each flight whatever is else is going on for the pilot.

This helps ensure that the flight is successfully – and safely – completed.

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