“3 Cutting Edge Communications You Can’t Afford to Ignore” Presentation by Alex Freund

On February 5, PSGCNJ was happy to have career coach Alex Freund give his “3 Cutting Edge Communications You Can’t Afford to Ignore” presentation to everyone. The 3 cutting edge communications he was referring to were “Tell me about yourself,” “The Elevator Pitch,” and “The Value Proposition.” Let’s take a closer take a closer look at each of them.

Tell Me About Yourself

Alex said this was typically the first question in the interview because the interviewer wants to form an initial impression — a starting reference point.  They need to see how you communicate with them.

  • Are you brief or are you lengthy?

He said being too long isn’t too good because you don’t know what frame of mind the interviewer is in or how much he or she is willing to listen to.

  • Are you focused or very general?

The interviewer is evaluating you and what you’re talking about.

  • Your body language

How do you communicate with your body language? The handshake leaves a first impression. He also said to never show your back to the interviewer when you walk in. You want to be friendly and nice. Also how you sit, how you look, and the tone of your voice also communicates things. Are you soft or are you loud when you communicate things? You want to maintain your tone of voice so that the interviewer can at least hear you. He also said the interviewer can tell when you speak with confidence, and it’s necessary to make a positive impression during the interview.

He said every interview question has 2 components – what you hear and what the interviewer is trying to find out. That part is hidden. When they say “tell me about yourself” it relates to your ability to solve their problem. It’s not about your personal past or your career progression.

The correct answer is a 5-step format:

  1. Summarize in one or two sentences what makes you professional
    • title, department size, area of responsibility, scope of work.
  2. Provide a concrete example of a success story that ends with recognition by a third influential party. For example, a supervisor, top leader or customer.
  3. At this point, ask the interviewer about his or her priorities. By asking this question you turn the interview from an interrogation to a professional dialogue. You need to find about ASAP what bothers them.
  4. Assume the interviewer’s answer indicates the need for someone to reduce cost by a certain percent, for example.
  5. You answer to his or her need with a relevant success story.

The Elevator Pitch

Alex says the purpose of the elevator pitch is to initiate a dialogue and from there develop a relationship. It is not about saying how amazing you were in your professional past.  It has to be 20 seconds or less and because of the time constraints, it is a challenge. Communicate who you are, what you do and what you are looking for at minimum. It’s both what you say and how you say it. You need to communicate something impactful to the audience, and practice it till it seems natural.

The Value Proposition

In the marketplace you’re a product, and you need to be clear what your values are. You have to do a self-assessment.

The value proposition requires answers to 4 questions:

  1. What is it that you do?
  2. Who are the customers that you support?
  3. What value do your customers obtain from you?
  4. What do your customers perceive as advantageous and unique to you?

Your value proposition has to be consistent everywhere.

Alex ended his presentation by talking about a class he’s teaching starting on February 13th via the Princeton Adult School. The class meets on Tuesdays from 7 to 9 pm — five consecutive weeks. The whole course is coaching with him, and you can find out more information on his website.

— Melanie Chima


Alex Freund is known as “the landing expert,” and can be found at www.thelandingexpert.com



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Upcoming PSG Presentation: What They Never Taught You In College

Whether established in a job for many years or transitioning to a new career, all of us need to transform and evolve. Please join us on Tuesday, February 20 (note it’s Tuesday) as author, podcast host and Rutgers University professor of marketing Mark Beal will use his book, 101 Lessons They Never Taught You In College, to share inspiring lessons for those who are strategically targeting the next act in their respective career.

Mark will discuss the mindset and approach that we all must take to continue to learn and transform as professionals.

For 30 years, Mark Beal has evolved from a traditional public relations practitioner in the 1990s to a full-service marketing consultant in 2017. If he did not, he would have become extinct. In order to transform, he had to embrace the advent of social and digital media and understand how to apply these new media channels to the consumer-facing marketing campaigns he and his agency develop for leading brands. This interactive session is intended to inspire us all to learn, evolve, transform and continue to deliver value in our current role or the next one on the horizon in our respective careers.

Aside from authoring 101 Lessons They Never Taught You In College, Mark is the host of the 101 Lessons In Leadership Podcast which can be found online at http://www.101lessonspodcast.com/. Each podcast episode features a long-form interview by Mark with a leader who shares the lessons that motivated them and the lessons they share with their followers today.

In April, Mark’s second book, 101 Lessons They Never Taught You In High School About Going To College, will be published and available on Amazon.

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ACT Training Cancelled Due to Weather, 2/7

ACT Module 4&5 Training on Wednesday, 2/7 is cancelled due to the weather. The make up date has yet to be decided.

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Upcoming Networking Events: A Great Resource

The Upcoming Networking Events Yahoo group, curated by Tom Donohue, is a great source for information on ongoing networking meetings in the tri-state area. All meetings are open to the public and almost all of these meetings are free.

In order to maximize your network, try to attend meetings in different geographical areas, but especially in towns where you are targeting companies that you would like to work for. Not only will you learn valuable job search skills, but greatly expand your circle of friends. Who knows, the person you meet at one of these networking events may be able to introduce you to a hiring manager at one of your target companies.

To join the group, log on to Yahoo and search for a Group titled Upcoming_Networking_Events, or click here.

— David Milkes



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Upcoming PSGCNJ Presentation, Feb 5: 3 Cutting Edge Communications You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Are you overlooked for positions?

Ever feel the hiring manager just “didn’t get you”?

Do you dread the “tell me about yourself” question?

Getting ahead is often the result of getting a leg up, especially in a job search or in advancing in one’s career. If you no longer want to be viewed as “one of the pack” but as a unique, sought-after candidate, this seminar, presented on February 5 by Alex Freund, is for you.

You know yourself. The challenge is how to communicate who you are in a way that differentiates you from your competition quickly and concisely. Fortunately, there are three types of communication that can create important, strategic advantages for you: 1) the “tell me about yourself” question, 2) the elevator pitch, and 3) the value proposition.

In this seminar, you will:

  • ­­Discover the hidden intent behind the “tell me about yourself” question
  • Understand the purpose of and differences between tell me about yourself, the elevator pitch, and value proposition
  • Identify how and when to use each to your advantage
  • Be able to create an engaging “tell me about yourself” response, elevator pitch, and value proposition
  • Be able to communicate who you are concisely and effectively
  • Interact with others confidently and outshine your competition

Alex Freund is the owner of Landing Expert Career Coaching. You can find job search resources at https://www.landingexpert.com.

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Elevator Presentations that Work! Presentation by Eileen N. Sinett

On January 16, we were happy to have Communication and Presentation Coach Eileen N. Sinett, present her talk, “Elevator Presentations that Work!”

Eileen prefers the word “speech” or “presentation” to “pitch” to describe the 30 seconds you are given to communicate who you are and what you do. “Pitch” has gotten a negative, “too salesy” connotation, while “speech” and “presentation” are more neutral.

She engaged us in several activities, the first of which was to introduce ourselves to each other with nothing but a hardy handshake, eye contact and “Hi, my favorite color is ___.” Surely not a verbally informative exchange, but the nonverbal communication was there, which Eileen said always precedes the verbal and enhances its value.

Eileen made a great point that our formal education focused on reading and writing, but not at all on how to listen and speak. beyond, “Sit down, be quiet and listen!” Likewise, we were taught how to put proper spacing in our writing, such as margins and indentations, but we were not taught about proper spacing (pause and silence) in a conversation.

Eileen’s presentation coaching methodology incorporates “4 points of connection:”

  • Inner self: one’s presence and confidence, which she also calls the “invisibles”
  • Message, emphasizing its clarity and flow
  • Audience: how to engage and connect
  • Physical self: delivery of the speech; voice and body language

In one exercise, she asked us to reorder the elements of our typical elevator speech (such as your name, title, tag line and the benefit you provide). It can get stale always saying, “Hi, my name is ___, and I do ____.” Plus, it may not be too memorable when you and the listener part ways. What if you started your speech, after your greeting (Hi, Good morning, and so forth), with the benefit you can provide an employer? Then you have the listener’s interest, and you can then tell them your name and how you can provide that benefit. Eileen calls these permutations “linguistic options.”

Right behind that exercise, she provided a list of alternative opening phrases to illustrate “language flexibility and creativity. We were challenged to start our elevator speech with phrases like: “Did you ever…?,” “Picture this:,” and “Can you believe that..?,” following up with content that illustrated our value to someone, turning elevator speeches into human stories.

Finally, Eileen provided us with two possible ways to answer “And what do you do?” One way is to answer in six words or less, which begs the listener to ask for more and keeps the interaction resembling a conversation more than a lecture. A second way is to answer by describing a generic business need, i.e. (“When you speak at a conference…you want to feel confident and present a clear message”) and then stating that you satisfy that need (“I promote speaker confidence, clarity and connection.”)

Eileen N. Sinett is the president and CEO of Speaking that Connects. She is presenting at the annual Princeton Community Works conference on Monday, January 29.

– David Milkes

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Don’t Do THIS: Go In Halfhearted (or Less)

You’ve been spending quite some time sending out resumes. Some of those open positions sound absolutely perfect for you; others may not be exactly what you were hoping for, but they could sure use somebody with your experience and skills. Finally, you get a phone call and you’re invited to come in for an interview.

It’s the big day. You’ve got a nice suit on, you’ve got extra copies of the polished resume that got your foot in the door, and, because you’ve done your homework on the position and the company, you’re coming prepared with some questions for whoever’s interviewing you. But there’s one other thing you better also have because it’s something that anyone talking to you is going to want to see no matter how fantastic your skill set is, and that’s enthusiasm. Trust me. I know this from personal experience.

When I was a teenager and trying to get a part-time job, I applied, as so many other young people do, at the local McDonald’s, and I got my very first interview. One of the questions the manager asked right off the bat was “Why do you want to work here?” I answered quite honestly, “Because I want to make some money.”

Now, while I was as personable and charming as I could be for the rest of the conversation, that answer cost me the job right there. In my naïveté, I thought my candor would be appreciated. It wasn’t. Of course people want to work to make money, but that’s something that could be done anywhere. What they wanted to hear was that McDonald’s was my favorite fast food restaurant, that their French fries can’t be beat, and/or that the service was always professional but friendly. They wanted to know that I actually wanted to be part of their operation.

Decades later, I was the editor of reference works for insurance underwriters and on the other side of the table when it came to interviews. My supervisor and I were building a practically brand new staff, and one candidate looked great, at least on paper. HR brought him in, but the individual we saw didn’t quite match the person described on the resume. He was gawky, wearing a shirt and suit that seemed a size or two too big, and on the quiet side. Quiet? He was almost silent, forcing us to pull answers to our questions out of him. More than that, he was just listless. In fact, at one point during the interview, I passed a note to my supervisor asking, “Is this guy alive?” Really, the zombies on The Walking Dead were perkier.

Did we hire him? No. We were looking to take on someone who would be researching different industries and writing about the hazards involved and what precautions should be taken. That would have involved digging deep into the Internet as well as calling professionals in those fields and visiting companies that manufactured specific products or provided particular services. A certain level of curiosity and energy was needed, and given that he seemed totally disinterested in the position, the work, and the company, and that he came off virtually comatose, it just didn’t seem like this would be a good fit.

So, when you’re called in for an interview, you’ve got to show them not just that you’re interested but that you’re genuinely excited about the opportunity. If it’s that perfect job you’ve been dreaming about, that shouldn’t be hard to do. If it’s for a job that you’re capable of doing but maybe it’s not exactly that one you were imagining you’d get, take stock of yourself. Why did you answer that particular ad? Why did you say, “Yes,” when your friend asked, “Hey, I know somebody who could use you. Should I mention your name?” Find that reason and bring it out. Take that enthusiasm with you and you just might make that open position your dream job after all.

— Daniel Dickholtz

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