Topic of the Month:
The Power Of Engaging and Connecting
At my first big interview in Silicon Valley, years ago, I was interviewed by a highly respected CEO for a job as a consultant with his company. I was nervous to say the least.
I wanted the job. I had prepared marketing materials with testimonials from past clients and carefully worded descriptions of work done, all in a beautiful package designed by a very talented business designer friend. I even “test drove” the materials with other business consultants, and they all thought the materials were great.
First things first: The CEO was 20 minutes late for our appointment. He was in his office, and I was waiting in the conference room. That made me even more nervous. He made sure who was in control – and it wasn’t me!
He finally came out to meet me. We shook hands, he glanced at my face for two seconds, and he ushered me into his office. He sat behind his desk and offered me a seat in front of his desk. He was busy, and he made that very clear. He asked me a few perfunctory questions about how I met the clients we shared who had recommended me. Then he asked to see my resume. Hurray!
I was thrilled as I handed it to him. The material was clear, the content targeted, and the design beautiful. He didn’t notice. He opened the folder, thumbed through it for what seemed to be all of 5 seconds, put it down and said, “What can you do for me that will help my company?”
Hello presence, clarity and self-confidence.
I got the job. And, I’ve gotten many others since then. I know why and have coached many other people so that they are able to conquer the interview, or sell the client, or close the deal. Below are the five things it takes to continually engage and connect to others and get more of what you want.
5 Ways to Engage and Connect to Others
1. Know Your Skills.
Know what you’re good at and know what you don’t do. Have the confidence to talk about each. Understanding your purpose, goals and skills gives you a foundation of strength.
2. Understand Your Audience.
I knew my prospect needed and wanted information without fanfare or hype.
3. Have a Personal Style.
Having an open style enabled me to ask him clarifying questions without being anxious or obnoxious. My openness allowed him to be open also as he recognized that I was simply clarifying his needs so that I could answer his questions more in depth.
4. Create a Structure.
Since I knew that my audience, the interviewer, liked less narrative answers and more bullet points, I was able to structure my answers in the manner he appreciated. I dealt with his company’s needs and finished with some action steps that I thought were warranted.
5. Research Your Content.
I used content that was clearly articulated and to the point. Before meeting with him, I had researched his company. I was prepared just like everyone should be when presenting themselves for a sale, negotiation, or an interview.
Every successful presentation contains the same five elements above. Be confident, know your audience, develop a personal style that is comfortable for you, create a structure that allows you to engage and connect and develop action steps, and research your content.
Most people hate making presentations. The five steps above can help you like presenting yourself to others. With a clear objective, some practice, and perhaps a little coaching, you can become a powerful presenter, make more sales, close more deals, get better jobs, and – most importantly – feel more powerful on a daily basis.