WICT 2020 Fall Mentoring with The Moxy Lab
Thank you to all the WICT mentors and mentees who are joining us this fall for the WICT 2020 Fall Mentoring sessions. We especially wish to thank Stephanie Klemp, Becky Woods, and Carrie Harmon for their dedication in bringing this program to fruition. The Moxy Lab also thanks WICT Rocky Mountain for its commitment to mentorship, year after year.
Throughout these months, and beyond them, we encourage you to meet regularly with your mentors and peers. Over the long haul, few can give you better guidance than a good mentor.
We will gather in groups four times (all in Mountain Time):
- Kickoff and Opening Sessions: Wednesday 12 August from 9am to noon (with a good break).
- Coaching Sessions, Round 01: Wednesday 9 September.
- Coaching Sessions, Round 02: Wednesday 21 October.
- Final Session: Wednesday 11 October, starting at 9am (schedule to be announced).
For the Coaching Sessions, we’ll be splitting you into two groups (A and B), one which will meet at 9am Mountain Time, and one which will meet at 11:15am Mountain Time. You’ll receive information on your group soon.
For security reasons, Zoom links will be sent only by email.
What We’ll Be Doing Together
As part of the Fall Mentoring program, you’ll make two presentations to your peers and your mentors.
- A five-minute introduction to you. This will be a biography, telling us who you are at your core, what values you bring to the workplace, and how those values contribute to your abilities to lead.
- A thirty-second “elevator pitch.” A great pitch seldom focuses on the specific job you might do, but rather on the value you bring to the team.
Along the way, we’ll be working on your (virtual) executive presence. Don’t worry too much about what you’re doing yet. We’ll guide you through the process, step by step.
Okay, they’re not assignments per se. They intended to guide you through this process, not to be a straightjacket.
ASSIGNMENT 01: An Introduction to You.
(Presenting Wednesday 9 September.)
In 4 to 5 minutes, tell us about you, your values, and how those values have made a difference in the way you show up to work. How do your values, along with the skills you possess, make you indispensable to any team?
We’re intentionally not giving you an example of how to do this, but we will provide you with some hints and guidance:
- Have a structure. There are many structures. Have one. It’s okay to ramble in your first draft, but hone your presentation until it has structure.
- Drop the preamble. All of it. We mean it. If you’ve already been introduced, there’s no need to say your name. Avoid prefaces and setups. Make your first two sentences really count.
- Find a hook. Relatedly, find a hook. In a four-minute talk, you have about 40 seconds to get our emotional attention. In a 30-second talk, that time drops to fewer than five seconds.
- Keep it as simple as possible (but no simpler). Have no more elements in your talk than are necessary. Your audience will almost certainly forget 75% of what you say. What do you really want them to remember? How do you want them to feel?
- It’s okay to write this one. Shana recommended using bullet points in your presentations. Overall, that’s true. Yet on this one, if you find writing it out word by word easier, do it.
- Be prepared to talk TO the camera. Just because we’re giving you permission to write it down, doesn’t mean you should show up reading this thing. Be prepared to talk to the camera, to us, your audience. Minimize the need to read, maximize your opportunity to connect with others.
- Practice, practice, practice. It’s almost a guarantee—if you scribble this out the night before the coaching session, and you only do it once, it’s not going to go well. You’ll get out of this what you put into it. Bring your A-game.
- Be prepared for coaching. Coaching is awkward. It means you’ll work hard on this, show up, give it your best… and be sent back to the drawing board with a lot to think about, and a lot more work to do. It’s okay. We’re here to support you.
Lastly, you will be presenting on camera. Review Shana’s recommendations, and adjust your setup as well as you can. There’s no need to spend big money—table lamps, books, and other inexpensive tricks will do. (That said, getting yourself closer to a professional setup doesn’t hurt either.).
In the days to come, keep your eye on this site for more hints and updates. Please feel free to ask any questions and, if you get a draft done early enough, feel free to send it to firstname.lastname@example.org,1 and let’s see if we can workshop it into an even better form.
ASSIGNMENT 02: Making Your Message Leaner.
(Presenting Wednesday 21 October.)
Build on the work you’ve already done in terms of:
- Identifying your values.
- Thinking about how you bring those values to work.
- Communicating to us who you are as a person.
We want your next-round presentation to take 90 seconds to 2 minutes, no more and no less. In crafting your next round, consider:
- Who you are at your core, what value(s) drive who you are at work or, if wish, in life.
- How does who you are affect how you engage your career? How might that make you indispensable, how has that helped you overcome challenges in the past, and how might that help you overcome challenges in the future?
- A good elevator pitch means nothing if it leads to no further connection, and few people carry business cards anymore. How do you move things to the next step?
Remember: You can’t control how others react to you, not precisely. We put our best foot forward, and this process continues through our lives. Our hope here is to provide a safe, positive system for feedback so you can present yourself better, and more truly, than ever before.
ASSIGNMENT 03: The Pitch, or, Who You Are and Why They Should Care in 60 Seconds or Less.
(Presenting Wednesday 11 November.)
Briefly, here are your guidelines for our last session:
- We will all present in one “room,” in order. No breakout groups.
- Each of you will deliver your “pitch.”
- Your “pitch” should be between 30 and 60 seconds. No longer.
- Don’t forget Shana’s directives about physical presence.
- Pay attention to lighting and blocking, such as the height of your camera, your seating, and all the aspects of how you show up.
- Occupy your virtual rectangle, square your shoulders, remember to look into the camera in order to connect with your audience.
- Before the day, practice not only your words but how you deliver them. Are you using the full range and nuance of your voice? Are you considering how you deliver your words?
How do you pare down what you’ve already produced in order to keep your delivery under 60 seconds, AND how do you make it powerful and effective? Consider these 10 principles:
- The purpose of this “pitch” is to earn the next meeting with your prospect. “Prospect” means boss, executive, prospect, client, etc. That’s it. That’s all the “pitch” does. Do not confuse its purpose with any other.
- Think carefully about how you include any information which is “biography” or “résumé.”
- Elements of your biography, or items which might appear on your résumé, should appear ONLY if they illustrate your strengths, values, purpose, goals, or some other important quality that makes you YOU. These qualities should invoke emotions, suggest your uniqueness, or create intrigue.
- Filling 30 to 60 seconds with the same information that appears on your résumé, or what might have appeared in your high-school yearbook, probably won’t work well.
- Create a hook: Hooks are difficult, so don’t worry too much if this one doesn’t quite come together. The hook is the emotional image, the curious statement, or the question that “hooks” the listener into wanting to know more or into remembering you long after you speak.
- Remember: The listener will instantly forget 75% of everything you say. What they are guaranteed to remember is how you made them feel, so make them feel something.
- Cut the fluff: Say something once, why say it again? Trim every word you can. Every word counts.
- Keep it human: But don’t cut it so much that you lose the sense of casual conversation, of warmth, and of your humanity.
- Practice: Practice, practice, practice. When you fail to practice, you lose your place and go off on tangents, which wastes time, which lessens your impact.
- Have fun: This is as safe a place as you’re going to get for this kind of professional development. Have fun! Take it seriously, but not too seriously.
- (Bonus): Have a CALL TO ACTION. Challenge your listener to take “the next step,” whatever that is.
As always, we’re here to help at any time. Feel free to reach out to us.
Our Commitment to You
We’re in this together! While our scheduled meeting times and coaching sessions are limited, we’re committed to working with you, connecting with you, and helping you reach your goals. Support by email and “office hours” may be ongoing, as needed.
Here you’ll find a number of resources from WICT and from The Moxy Lab which we’ll use in the coming days and months.
We recommend downloading and printing all of these (on paper!). Be prepared to write on them, fill them out, doodle on them, fold them up into paper airplanes. These will be documents to be used, not merely referred to.
Some Videos on “Elevator Pitches” from WICT
Some examples from British comedian Reuben Christian. Reuben’s “what not to do example” is amusing, and his “what to do” isn’t bad either.
Some examples from Tennessee Technical College of Business. These are amusing, and most examples of “what not to do.” Hint: Don’t take your moment with the CEO to ask for a selfie.