MARYSVILLE — As the WISE Women head into their third annual business showcase March 16, they took time during their regular monthly meeting March 2 to help women in business tell their stories.
Erin Loman-Jeck was a business success coach for five years before she found out how many people wanted her to teach them how they could emulate her example as effective public speakers.
As she explained at the LivingRoom Coffee House in Marysville, the secret is not to pitch your customer a service or product, but to tell them your own story, in a way that makes them feel connected to you.
“Everyone is nervous about speaking, but everyone also has a story to share,” Loman-Jeck said. “When you’re telling a story, you stop thinking about the fact that you’re speaking.”
More than just a rhetorical flourish, sharing one’s story with prospective customers or partners is a way to bond over common passions and challenges.
“It’s not so much the content that matters as the risk of revealing your vulnerability,” said Loman-Jeck, who recalled how she’d juggled her roles as a wife and mother, and overcome a foreclosure, to become a success at training other speakers. “If I can get you to feel what I’m feeling, you’ll say, ‘Oh, she’s an expert in what I’m going through, so I’ll buy from her.'”
Loman-Jeck acknowledged that this requires knowing your audience and tailoring your message to fit their needs.
“As an example, show of hands; how many times have each of you wanted to quit trying to make a go of it as an entrepreneur?” Loman-Jeck asked. “Be honest. When you’re struggling, and it feels like no one is buying, that inner bad roommate has a lot of negative talk for you.”
Loman-Jeck noted that this illustrates the importance of telling stories in which you’ve overcome your obstacles, rather than ones about challenges you’re wrestling with.
“It’s like the Heroes’ Journey myths,” Loman-Jeck said. “There’s the Call, which is the moment that motivates you to do more, you go through the depths of your struggles before you find solutions, and at the end is a breakthrough, when you can reflect on what you’ve learned.”
By training women in business to be better speakers, Loman-Jeck hopes they can share solutions to common problems.
“Women are great at making connections,” Loman-Jeck said. “Men in the boardroom are all about the bottom line, but women CEOs care about what their decisions will mean for the entire company and its culture.”
Carin Weier, founder and executive director of the WISE Women, praised Loman-Jeck’s mission as complementary to both WISE Women and its business showcase, since “the whole point is to get our problems out there, so that other women can say, ‘Oh, thank God, I’m not the only one.'”
The business showcase has expanded out of the Medallion Hotel in Smokey Point, and will be hosted at the Everett Events Center March 16, with the showcase running from noon to 6 p.m., and the business breakout sessions slated for 2-4 p.m.
Guests can register online for $20 at www.AreYouaWiseWoman.com.