Whether New Business Pitch, Job Interview or Networking, Strategically Prepare to Meet the Jury
A Guest Post on Strategic Preparedness by Rory Kelly Connor
You’ve been there. You did the upfront work to get their attention. You created a powerful resume or marketing materials or a market presence that made them take you seriously. You scored that new business pitch meeting, job interview, or networking opp that you seriously wanted. The potential client or employer or contact is now your target audience.
You then begin to strategically prepare – the talking points, key messages, questions, wardrobe, presentation, pitch. Hours are spent on strategy, with the goal of getting to “yes.” You do your research to learn about the company or product or marketplace. You get the goods on the competition. You powerfully plan and create amazing new ways of supporting their goals. You are set on proving to them that you not only “get them,” but you are what they need. You build your strategic interview script or presentation deck focused on selling them in to not only wanting to work with you, but being excited to work with you as a player on their team. You finalize everything and are ready to rock.
But you forgot something.
The Jury is In
Trial attorneys know that effective trial strategies and jury selection are key to winning a case. They often hire expert consultants to do in-depth, strategic analysis and research to assist with choosing a jury and preparing witnesses. This vital aspect of preparedness goes well beyond just knowing the people’s names, ages, ethnicity, job titles, and marital status – the tip of the iceberg. In fact, Reuters Legal recently reported that lawyers often conduct immediate online searches right in the courtroom during jury deliberation using their iPads, accessing potential jurors LinkedIn profiles, Facebook and Twitter postings, YouTube videos, and more to gain insight into each person’s opinions, politics, personality and religious issues, just to mention a few.
So, what does this have to do with your upcoming interview, networking session over coffee or big new business pitch? Everything. You are preparing to face a jury. Decisions will be made based on your “testimony.” Your ability to present the “case” in a compelling manner, to anticipate any and all questions, and to deeply understand the personal and professional agendas of each “juror” – and to resonate with them - is key to your success.
Do Your Due Diligence
Crucial to my success as a Strategic Advisor, Coach and PR Expert is my ability to understand and get into the minds of my client’s target audiences. Whether media, thought leaders, consumers or prospective employers, I have a knack for being able to strategically understand their perspectives and anticipate their issues both professionally and personally. I know that everyone has a job to do, an agenda to fulfill and a position they either want to keep or elevate.
Often called a “secret weapon,” I use this expertise to create provocative strategy, messaging, and delivery methodologies that prepare my clients to interact and communicate powerfully with their target audiences and move them closer to “yes” (a winning verdict). For instance, a crucial area in which I support my Career Coaching clients is interview or networking preparedness. Similar to the jury selection process, I work directly with clients to prepare them for each and every interaction with all prospects. We research each person’s professional background online, especially their LinkedIn profiles and bios on company websites. We discuss what we know about them, putting ourselves into their perspectives to anticipate issues and agendas. We identify the key points we believe are their priorities. We consider ego issues and market factors.
This process of “due diligence” ultimately allows us to prepare a strategic approach for each encounter. Knowing that the EVP of Corporate Communications is also passionate about supporting initiatives geared towards empowering girls gives you an opportunity for resonance that may make you stand out from your competitors. Anticipating that the Product Manager who has worked for your potential employer for five years is extremely proud (and maybe arrogant) about the new and emerging products he’s created may be imperative to how you answer questions during an interview about a potential launch strategy. And anticipating that the EVP of Sales for a company you are targeting for your consulting services may be uncomfortable with your wealth of new business expertise can be insight that allows you to position yourself as an ally versus a threat.
A Winning Verdict
Now, more than ever, business is about relationships. When quality, price and expertise are comparable, people will often make choices based on who they most want to work with on an ongoing basis. Anticipating what people care about and how they think allows you to create a meaningful connection with them.
So be prepared. Do the extra work to get into the minds of your target audiences. And, if you don’t have experience dealing with the level of people you will be meeting (CEOs, executives, HR people) or have little knowledge of what they are responsible for executing in their positions, work with a Coach or Mentor to prepare appropriately. Taking this often neglected step could make the difference between you getting the account, the job, the big media placement, or the referral that could change your life.
Based in New York and New Jersey, and serving clients worldwide, Rory Kelly Connor is a Peak Potential Coach, Certified Life & Career Coach, and Global Solutions Strategic Advisor/Branding & PR Expert. For more information, please visit www.canyouimaginelifecoaching.com.
Can You Imagine Life Coaching LLC © 2012