There are networking groups, and then there are workshops. Lately, combos of those two are proving successful.
Communications coach Eileen Sinett (www.speakingthatconnects.com) has begun to hold breakfast meetings on “last Fridays,” and I fetched up at her door, on Plainsboro Road, on July 31. So did nearly two dozen other people, eager to network but also ready to sponge up wisdom from Eileen on how to present themselves better. Scott Melzer, an Ameriprise financial advisor, was the co-host and Biz4NJ the co-sponsor of this Speaking For Biz program.
After chatting with an unusually diverse group of people, ranging from my colleague, Bart Jackson, and Warren Pick, a TV producer – to Cindy Urken, a realtor, and Sherry Waryasz, a certified laughter leader – we settled down to introduce ourselves. Eileen suggested an intriguing departure from the typical “elevator” speech. Instead of “my name is and here is what I do,” we were to begin with “Clients say…” or “People tell me….” or even just “When….”
If you think of the typical introduction as like a news story, with the Who, What, When and Where at the top, this kind of “alternative introduction” is like a mini-feature story, a nifty little narrative. We learned a lot about each other in a very short time.
Then we puzzled over the difference between providing information and persuading. Having just returned from Italy, and my first visit to Pisa, I was intrigued by the answer from Prakash Rao, a time management coach. It seems that Galileo proved the theory of gravity by dropping things from the Tower of Pisa, but for 100 years the faculty at the University of Pisa did not teach his theory. Galileo had failed to persuade.
Here is a snippet from Eileen’s mini-lesson on persuasion, memorable with the rubric Smart Individuals Head Big Companies. Setup or frame your context with three irrefutable statements, that no one can contest. Then and only then present your Idea, followed by How it would work, and then by telling the Benefits. Or just tell the benefits and wait for your target to ask how he can get it.
Sinett runs some other low-cost opportunities to pick up speaking tips, but the next Biz4NJ breakfast is Friday, August 28, at 8:30 a.m. at 610 Plainsboro Road, on the topic “Tweaking Pitches for a Different Audience.” Cost: $10. Please RSVP at 609-799-1400 because space is limited. Photo: From left, Nicolette Datri, an intern, and Eileen.