Author, Consultant, Executive Coach - Helping people and organizations grow into desired results

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Singapore Facilitators Conference - Day one report

A quick post and greetings from Singapore, where I presented a session yesterday at the Singapore Facilitators Conference on "Facilitation with the brain in mind". After an overview of the NeuroLimbic and NeuroRational types, (as developed by author and strategist Peter Burow in his book, NeuroPower) a lively discussion ensued which featured shared stories and experiences. I find these conferences invaluable because there is always such a wealth of knowledge and experience in the room, so many talented practitioners in diverse fields willing to share what they know and hungry to learn more from each other.

Are you going up?

A useful exercise looked at creating your elevator pitch - the 20 second summary of your offering that you would be able to reel off in the course of an elevator ride with a prospective client. The pitch should be a brief description of what you do and how you offer value, benefit and quality to your client.

Most of all, it needs to be structured so that the client cannot simply say, “Oh yeah, we already do that kind of work with another company," or “we already do/have that in-house,” or “We don’t need/use that.” Worst of all, if you give your pitch and the client simply says, "so what?" then you have yet to deliver the information that's needed to start a useful conversation.

A pitch is not simply saying your name and what you do: "Hi I'm Frank and I'm a consultant," or "I'm Debbie and I work with XYZ company." That practically begs the "so what?" response.

A great pitch needs to:
  • show how you help your clients achieve their goals
  • describe in detail where you add value and the benefits of your offer
  • stimulate a conversation, so the person will keep talking after you leave the "elevator"
Working together with about a dozen other conference attendees, we came up with the following pitch:

We are all storytellers. Everything that happens in our life, we tell ourselves a story about it, to make some meaning of it and explain it to ourselves and others. If you spilled coffee on yourself this morning, you automatically told yourself a story about what just happened. It might have been "oh, I'm so clumsy!! I always drop things..." or you might have said "well, I guess I'll know for next time not to put my mug on the edge of the table like that!"

People act the same way in organizations. They tell themselves and others stories about their day-to-day existence and experiences. As with the spilled coffee example, those stories can be positive, negative or somewhere in between.

If you are a leader or manager, how useful would it be for you to know what stories your team members and direct reports are telling? To know whether they are hopeful stories or fearful ones? Are people able to share their stories and gain comfort from that fact that they're not the only one who feels the way they do, that they're not alone? Or do their stories not line up with each other, which is why there is miscommunication, tension and conflict in the office?

Most of all, you probably want to know whether the stories they're telling match the story that you, their leader, want them to be telling! That they are aligned with the goals and expectations of the organization.

If that is something that would be of use to you, we have processes for getting those stories into the open and talking openly and honestly about what they mean - for the individuals, the team, the organization, and for you as a leader. If it's of interest to you, I'm happy to talk further with you about how that would work...

Looking forward to another day at the conference today, will report more news tomorrow!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Greetings from Singapore, Todd... :)

Great sharing on your experience during the Singapore Facilitators Conference & it was professionally written... Most of all, thanks for your sharing during the Conference & also this blog of yours with us... :)

Just a little "add-on" of personal note to your blog sharing on the great pitch needs: -
A great pitch "meal"...

- An introduction that give others a "WOW" factor & want to know what or how did you help your clients to achieve their goals (Appetizer - To catch their attention)

- A little "walk-through" of your successful journey with your clients & sharing on the methodologies or tools used (Main Course - To gain their trust)

- Reach-out & touch the heart of others by your offer vs their needs or what you guys can share & learn from each other etc (Dessert - To understand their interests)

- Keep the conversation "flowing in minds" by all the possibilities or opportunities ahead for you with them or them with you (Coffee or Tea - To create possible "partnership" with them before you leave)

These are just my little one-cent personal point-of-view to the needs of a great pitch, however, I always believe that there will always be a better & clearer way of defining the great pitch... Thus, I hope & will be looking forward to more sharing on this & also on story-telling... :)

Thank you once again & have a great week ahead, Todd... :)

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