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Interview Patty

Plan Like a Politician

July 09, 2024

I was caught off guard last week – and I started thinking about what that really means.

In that moment, I felt surprised, unprepared, frustrated, and a bit angry. I expected the conversation to go in one direction and it suddenly veered off on another path.

Sure, there can be instances where surprises are fun, but in business, those jolts can leave us feeling ambushed.

The skills and techniques I taught to political candidates are the same skills I teach today to women business owners. But communicating effectively requires so much more than learning skills. This is where women can shine, using their intuition and powers of perception, but they frequently struggle to speak up and speak out.


When you ‘plan like a politician’, you can feel prepared, even when caught off guard.

Today’s Questions:


How do you handle being caught off guard? What are the feelings you have to deal with in that moment?


But Here’s the Twist
. . .


Many women business owners (especially Good Girls) long for consistency and predictability, so dealing with unforeseen questions or requests can be especially difficult. Sometimes those questions can feel like accusations, and we can feel caught off guard.

You would be wise to use this technique for every interaction since you never know when you’ll be surprised. When you plan like a politician, you’ll be ready with your key points and business stories, so you can answer the question you want to answer – not the question you’re asked.

Before the interaction:


During the interaction:

  • If you are asked a question you don’t want to answer (or can’t answer), acknowledge the question with some variation of “That’s an interesting question, and we can come back to that” or “That’s insightful and makes me think about . . . .” Then quickly transition to your key points.
  • Breathe evenly, using pauses and silence to your advantage. Breathing will calm you. Allowing moments of silence will alter the pace of the conversation – in a good way.
  • Repeat key points as needed (strategic repetition).
  • Use effective body language with direct eye contact.


I have taught this method to countless political candidates (in my former life) and clients (in my current life). You can’t anticipate every question or objection, but you can be prepared with the message you want to deliver.

This technique is especially effective to:

  • Maintain control of a meeting or interaction.
  • Deal with high emotions or people who get off subject.
  • Avoid that caught-off-guard feeling.


We can learn to deal with unpredictability by being prepared to deliver a well-crafted message.

-- Excerpt from Patty’s book, Your Hidden Advantage: Unlock the Power to Attract Right-fit Clients and Boost Your Revenue


Now What?


So, while you can plan like a politician and use this technique to your advantage, you can also learn to play the long game. Planning and preparation will serve you in the short- and long-term.

Have you built a profitable and valuable business but instead of feeling like there's something missing, you’re feeling like there's something more?

You’ve spent decades becoming an expert in your field and building your business. You care deeply about your staff and your clients. You’ve made it this far, delivering excellence and great results. Your clients sing your praises. And yet…

As a high-achieving woman business owner running a profitable and valuable business in your Second Act, you may be wondering ‘what’s next?’

Like many women, I have fallen into The Broken Cookie Effect® trap over and over. For me, my business life breaks down like a play - in three acts.

I ate only the imperfect and broken cookies in my First Act, as an employee. I overworked and overdelivered as if it was routine, and thought I had to just live with the anxiety and stress.

In my Second Act, I wanted the whole cookie but felt guilty for taking it. So, I settled for the broken cookies, hoping one day to feel differently.

I founded my political consulting and lobbying business and learned things the hard way: how to price, how to sell, and how to get the deals done, knowing it wasn’t a level playing field for women. I was raising three small children as a single mom and the stress was so constant I felt numb.

If "All the world's a stage…”, I leapt into my Third Act in 2006.

I’m dedicated to helping women founders transition to their Third Act – when you’re ready to do the work you’ve always longed to do.

Work that lights you up. Work that is your purpose instead of just a paycheck.

In my experience, women don't retire; they transition into a new stage of purpose and impact. Whether you are 40 or 60, the idea of retirement may not appeal to you. Just because you can retire doesn’t mean you’ll want to.

We can redefine ‘retirement’ and think of your eventual business exit as a ‘purposeful transition’.

Are you ready to leap into your Third Act and grab the whole cookie?

That requires a new way of thinking, new skills, a simple and elegant design, and an advocate by your side. Contact me to learn more. 

Discover your Exit Readiness Index™ with this assessment: http://she-exits.com/

 

A Note from Patty...

My life’s work is empowering high-achieving women business owners to fine-tune their operations and scale their revenue for strategic growth, creating real business value and emerging exit ready. That value can transform into wealth when they are ready to exit their company - and I believe that wealth in the hands of women elevates society as a whole.

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