Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. There is no substitute for preparation. Going to a meeting? Be the best prepared. Starting a negotiation? Be the most researched person in the room. Know your material. Bring the documents. Memorize the facts. Be sharp. Be ready to condense what you know into an elevator pitch, but have the research available at moments notice in case someone wants a deeper dive. The point is that the Boy Scouts were right – “Always be prepared.”
Ben Franklin put it this way: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” But by preparing well, you will be the best man the room.