A recent Harvard Business Publishing/Leadership At Work blog article talks about the importance of being prepared when going into meetings and presentations. Leadership is all about persuading others to your point of view. Leaders must prepare themselves before they speak by thinking about the critical issues facing their teams, anticipate the hard questions and having a coherent response to those questions already prepared. The "elevator" pitches about these topics should be practiced, fluent and polished. A serious mistake leaders make is not effectively communicating with their staff on important topics; organizational restructuring, possible downsizing, payroll changes, the competition and the future are all topics that leaders should be prepared to talk about at all times, even if it is to say that discussions are being conducted and there will be an update forthcoming. Never evade the conversation!