I do a lot of coaching on interviewing and networking – introductions for formal, informal, one-on-one, group; you name it, if it is talking or selling yourself I coach on it. The one statement I repeatedly tell my clients the most is:
One of the best exercises is a rapid fire question approach not allowing them to think about their answers, as soon as they answer I ask another, then another and so on. It completely frustrates them and throws them off their game and it is exactly what I want. Not to frustrate them, of course.
But to disengage their brain and engage their heart.
It has to come from the heart.
Before we get to that, let me just say that there is preparation that should be done: identify your skills, abilities and value, determine how you apply your value for other’s benefits and solid examples of these things.
You have to know what you are selling before you attempt to sell.
Why does someone want to talk to you, hire you, start and remain in a relationship with you in any fashion? What do you have to offer and can you prove it? This is the homework, this is the thinking part.
Once you have a good idea of these items then it is time to turn off the brain.
Now that you really do know your value it is time to stop thinking so much and trying to come up with the “perfect” words. Passion beats perfect words any day of the week.
It has to come from the heart.
When you speak from within you are sharing a part of you, allowing the person or persons you are speaking to or with to see the real you. The person who not only knows their value but is passionate about it.
Scripts do not convey passion, rather they speak of boredom. You have memorized a lecture and no one likes to be lectured to.
It is a scary thought, many of my clients are afraid of not having a script. They are afraid they will say the wrong thing. Remember, you are selling you – not a widget. You are not a widget, you are an individual who has skills, abilities and value all of which you are confident in and passionate about.
I do not use scripts, not in talking to prospective clients, groups or facilitating workshops. I have an idea of what I want to say but I let it flow based on the interaction.
I absolutely love what I do, I have a passion for it, it brings me a tremendous amount of job, I am able to help someone every single day and it drives me to do more. I get so passionate about what I do I have had to train myself to stop and ask questions. I don’t want to loose my audience, I want to engage them. So I ask questions and incorporate the answers into what I say next.
I speak from the heart because my heart is fully immersed in what I do.
I may not be the foremost expert or best speaker in the world but I do know what I do, how I do it, the value I bring and the purpose behind it so it allows my heart to take over.
After speaking engagements, workshops or one-on-one with clients some of the comments I hear the most are:
“You really love what you do and it shows.”
“You can tell you are really passionate about what you do.”
“I hate this process but you make it fun because you are so engaged.”
Make no mistake about it, if you ever hear me speak about resume, networking, business communication, LinkedIn, interviewing – anything about job searching and business building – you will know that I am completely committed to what I do and I give it my all. It also helps that I know quite a bit about what I am talking about.
It allows me to throw my clients off that scary cliff and be their safety net. It builds confidence and trust. When I see them grow and thrive I am filled with pride for them. It fuels my passion even more.
Oh yes, there are times I get tongue tied or blurt out something that isn’t “the right words”. Saying “damn” in church during a presentation is one instance that immediately comes to mind. But it is ok. I am human and the best way to handle that is a smile and a bit of humor. I think at that moment I just smiled, and said my mother would be so proud and I moved on.
Let the slip ups go, acknowledge them, brush them off with a smile and lighthearted comment and get back on track.
Hearts are a funny thing, they may not always know the right words and sometimes add a slip or two, but in the end, the heartfelt message is more meaningful than a memorized script any day of the week.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW