In late August I had the privilege of delivering two workshops in St. John’s in partnership with Futurpreneur and TD Canada Trust. In one of those workshops I was delighted to re-connect with Corina Walsh and I’m very pleased to introduce her to you. She has me re-thinking how I describe my work and I’m confident she’ll inspire you as well.
Growing up in rural Newfoundland, I was surrounded by storytellers. Newfoundland has a rich history of storytelling and my family is very much a part of that history. I’ve listened to my father and uncles tell the same stories at least one hundred times. The stories never get old so I really don’t mind.
I always know when someone is telling a really good story because people literally lean in, hanging on every word. A good storyteller evokes all sorts of emotions us, like anticipation, empathy, and, of course, joy.
In 2015 I attended the EXCELerate conference for women in business in Vancouver. Over 200 women came together for three days to network and learn how to grow their businesses. It was an amazing opportunity for me to connect with others, learn from them, and maybe even find a new client or two. On the first day of the conference every woman that I met asked me the standard networking question, “What do you do?” And I responded in the most standard way, “I’m a Coach and a Consultant.” I would get a polite smile and a nod, and then the person would usually move on to someone else sitting at our table.
By the end of day two I was feeling disappointed and defeated. I wasn’t connecting with the other attendees like I wanted and I knew I had to try something else. On the final day of the conference I walked into the first session of the day, and the facilitator immediately told us to walk around the room and tell two people what we were most passionate about.
“This is easy,” I thought. I knew exactly what I was passionate about. I found two women standing together and I asked if I could join them. They both smiled and one of the women looked at me and asked, “So, what are you passionate about”? I took a deep breath and responded, “I am passionate about helping people connect with their inner light so they can shine every day.”
I wasn’t expecting what happened next. The two women standing in front of me leaned in to me and whispered, “How do you do that?” I spent the rest of the session talking with only these two women, telling them about my work, and exchanging contact information. I still talk to one of the women I met in that session.
You have likely heard the saying that people don’t care what you do, they care why you do it. Well, I think that’s only partially true. People enjoy hearing the ‘why’ behind what you do but they also want to know what it is you will do for them. They want to know how their life or business will transform if they buy your product or service. The transformation people experience from working with you is your highest value. And when you know how to articulate that value, you will evoke emotions in others just like a great storyteller … and form a deeper connection with them.
If you are not sure how to communicate your highest value to colleagues or potential clients, try answering the following questions:
What is the transformation that people will experience after working with you or buying your product?
What is the ‘before and after’ effect?
What will change for them?
What can they ‘stop’ doing?
What can they ‘start’ doing?
For instance, if you are a web designer there are likely service providers out there who are embarrassed by their outdated websites. Your highest value might be that you can help them finally feel confident about their online presence. It is very helpful to think about how you want people to feel after they work or buy from you to draw out their emotions.
And the next time you attend a networking event, don’t start off with, “I’m a graphic designer.” Instead, tell them how you bring value to the lives of others. Even if the person standing in front of you is not a potential client, you will both benefit by forming a deeper connection with each other.
Corina Walsh empowers people, teams, and businesses to harness the power of their emotions to reach new levels of personal and professional success. In 2014 Corina Walsh made the bold choice to leave her secure, well-paying job behind to venture out into the uncertain world of entrepreneurship. Having worked in both the private and public sector for 10 years Corina was feeling unfulfilled and needed a new challenge that would make her heart sing! She started her company, Shift People Development, with the mission to help professionals build meaningful careers and companies create happy, engaging workplaces.
Enjoy your phone work everyone!