I recently picked up the term prepared curiosity.
It sounds like the perfect state of mind when getting ready for an important conversation. You prepare as much as you can and then, when the moment is there, you throw it all away. It reminds me of this Charlie Parker quote:
You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
It also sounds like the perfect antidote for the preparation paradox, which I talked about with criminal defense attorney David Rudolf on my podcast. Preparation is crucial, but take it too far and it can easily become a distraction. You’ll be thinking about your prepared script, the next question on your list or the brilliant idea you came up with under the shower, while you should focus all your attention on being in the moment and connecting with the other person.
As I said in a previous blog:
The most important thing to do in your preparation is to ask yourself what you want to get from the meeting and why it matters. If you have clarity on your goals, you’ll find the appropriate words when needed to keep the conversation moving in the right direction.
In other words, you have to find out what you are curious about and why. Other than that, you are good to go.