First Impressions Workshop for the Women’s Transportation YOU Seminar

Seminar: Transportation YOU
Laura facilitating First Impressions workshop for the Women’s Transportation Seminar: Transportation YOU
The seminar was designed to high school young women increase their awareness of how to make a confident, capable and positive impression.

Transportation You Program

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KATEN CONSULTING teamed-up with NYC-based corporation Parsons Brinkerhoff. KATEN presented its 7 Second First Impression & Communication workshop to the young women of the non-profit Transportation You. Great questions were asked!

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Perfect Pitch: How to Nail Your Elevator Speech

Perfect Pitch: How to Nail Your Elevator Speech

You ride the subway, grab a coffee, and get to the office—it’s your typical Monday morning, until, bam! You step in the elevator and find yourself face-to-face with the CEO of your dream company or the client you’ve been dying to land.

She smiles and says, “Hi. What do you do?”

Scary? Absolutely. But it could happen to you—tomorrow—and you’ll want to be prepared.

The aptly named “elevator speech” or “elevator pitch” is a concise, compelling introduction that can be communicated in the amount of time it takes someone to ride the elevator to her floor.

Even if you’re never caught heading up to the 39th with someone important, this is an good skill to master when you’re introducing yourself during an interview, a sales pitch, or a networking event. People are busy, and being able to communicate who you are and what you do quickly and effectively will ensure that you get your most important points across, no matter how short the conversation.

Not quite ready for the elevator ride of your life? Check out our step-by-step guide to crafting—and perfecting—your pitch.

1. Start with a Blank Canvas

Take a blank piece of paper and number it from one to 10. Then, fill in the most important bits of information that you want to convey about yourself, your service or product, or your company. What, exactly, do you do? What have you achieved, and what are your goals? Who does your company serve and why? Focus on the most interesting or memorable facts—the ones that really make you stand out from others.

2. Red Pen It

Using a different color pen, edit what you’ve drafted with a critical eye. Eliminate any redundancies, unnecessary or unclear information, and broad business jargon. More importantly, hone and enhance the good stuff. “I’m great at sales” isn’t likely to pique anyone’s interest, but “I’ve exceeded my sales goals every quarter for the last two years” sure might.

3. Pick a Card

Grab five index cards, and label them “Who I Am,” “What I Do,” “How I Do It,” “Why I Do It,” and “Who I Do It For.” Add each item on the list you’ve created to the card where it fits best. Ideally, you’ll have two compelling sentences underneath each heading, so fill in any gaps if you need to.

4. Get in Order

Organize the cards in a logical order, making sure the most important information is first. Remember, you often only have a few seconds to communicate with someone. If you get cut off, what would you want her to walk away remembering?

5. Add an Attention-Getter

Add an interesting fact or stat to use at the beginning of your speech. Your goal is to immediately engage someone so that he or she is intrigued and wants to learn more.

6. Practice!

Recite your pitch to close someone who can be objective, and ask for constructive feedback (although we love our friends and families, sometimes they think we can do no wrong!). What may seem clear in your mind might come across as convoluted, long-winded, or fragmented to an outside observer.

7. Record Your Pitch

Once you’ve gotten feedback and honed your pitch even further, record yourself saying it. Listen to your tone—make sure it’s friendly, non-threatening, and that you’re not talking a mile a minute (knowing you only have a few moments to speak may subconsciously increase your pace). Really listen to what you’re saying—make sure you’re not repeating words and that you’re sending the message you really want to convey.

8. Ride the Elevator

The next time you ride an elevator (alone), practice your speech. First, give yourself some time by going to the highest floor. Then, try giving your pitch from a middle floor and from the first to the third floor, too. Having to make just a few brief moments count will help you to hone the words you need and scrap the ones you don’t!

This week, set aside some time to craft your elevator pitch (or dust off the one you’ve used before). You just never know who you might face tomorrow morning.

Boost Your Resume the Right Way! How to Become Strategically Well-Rounded

Boost Your Resume the Right Way! How to Become Strategically Well-Rounded

So you eat healthy (most of the time), you go to the gym, you give 100% at work, you volunteer on the weekends, and you also make sure to enjoy yourself with friends. You, by all accounts, are considered well-rounded.

Kudos to you! Now, let’s apply that to your professional life. Even though you’re great at your current job duties, being well-rounded professionally—which means gaining experience beyond just one functional area—is an important element to your long-term success.

Why? Because being well-rounded means you can step outside of your current role and take on new things—and that’s how you get the exciting new assignments and projects, which often don’t actually “fit” into anyone’s job description. What’s more, as you climb the ladder and are up for management positions, you’ll need skills in a variety of different areas to help you succeed. If you’re currently a social media manager but eventually want to head up a marketing department, for example, you’ll need to pick up expertise in brand development, advertising, and finance, too.

That said, there’s a difference between collecting random skills and gaining new experiences that will make you strategically well-rounded. So, here are a few questions to ask yourself to identify the skills that will be most important for your future—so you can go out and build them.

What Gaps in Knowledge Do I Have?

First, pull out your resume and take inventory of yourself. What are some valuable qualities or skills you already possess—and what do you wish you had? You’ll often identify strategic skills just by paying attention to your gaps or areas of weakness and identifying ways to strengthen them.

If you know you struggle with delegation or want to hone your leadership traits, for example, perhaps you could take on an intern or mentor junior employees. Or, if your emails tend to be long-winded or you wish you were a better communicator, taking a writing class would be a great way to grow.

What Skills Do Those Around Me Have?

Next, look around, and start noticing what other “well-rounded” colleagues or clients are doing. Particularly consider people in the positions you want to move into or attain: What do they do well, what could they do better, and what skill sets do their positions require? If everyone in the level above you has to manage budgets, for example, look for ways to plan budgets on smaller projects or events. If most people in the roles you’re checking out at PR companies have experience in public speaking, that’s a great place to focus your time and energy.

What Gaps in Knowledge Does My Team Have?

On the flip side, pay attention to the knowledge gaps on your team. If there’s knowledge or experience that no one else really has—but that could help you all on an upcoming project—that could be a great place for you to take on new skills and really shine.

For instance, if no one in the department ever wants to make client presentations, getting some public speaking training would be a huge boost for the team. If no one on your email marketing team knows how to code, why not take on the challenge?

What Characteristics Does My Boss Value Most?

Finally, think, watch, and listen to your boss. Consider the characteristics she possesses, as well as the ones that she doesn’t, and fill in the gaps. If you can handle tasks that would otherwise be challenging for her (say, you know she loathes Excel), that’s an easy way to make life easier for her and at the same time take on more responsibility.

Also listen to the comments and compliments she gives. What traits does your boss admire in others? What praise has she given lately and to whom? Through this type of feedback, you can glean the qualities that she values—and get to work on those skills.

Being well-rounded doesn’t mean you have to be great at everything, or even involved in every aspect of your company’s work. But if you strategically expand your expertise based on your own strengths and weaknesses and those of your team, you’ll add a huge amount of value to your organization—not to mention your resume.

Laura Invited to Washington State to Speak

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Laura will be speaking at the National PTA annual conference in Washington State in April 2014. The keynote will focus on the topic of Communication and how this skill has a direct impact on leadership capabilities.