Dread public speaking? Want to be an all around better communicator whether it’s an audience of one or thousands? Help is on the way with a new business that’s launching this week.
CIM Consulting Group was formed by Janet Parker and Martin Willoughby when they realized their service offerings were complementary and could provide more by pooling their efforts and expertise. CIM stands for Captivate, Inspire, Motivate.
“We felt like the whole would be greater than the parts,” Willoughby says. “Public speaking is the number one fear people have, but that fear can also manifest in big sales presentations, interviews or other small group settings. It’s not just for platform speaking.”
Parker says the training can benefit any business that has people they want to develop. “When they do that, business grows,” she says. “In our basic presentation training, we help people conquer their fear, project a positive image and learn to inspire their audience, regardless of size.”
In CIM’s advanced presentation training skills, the trainers help participants learn facilitation skills and further develop their skills to truly become powerful, effective presenters and communicators of information. Leadership development and customer service skills are also offered by CIM.
“It’s such a competitive world, how will you set yourself apart?” Parker asks. “With any company, the foundation is their people who go out and represent the company. This training is for companies and firms that rely on external communication with clients, but it will also enhance communication internally. This type of employee development can provide a competitive edge.”
Willoughby says he and Parker have similar passions for training and seeing others maximize their potential, but they come from different perspectives. Parker is from Illinois, a graduate of the University of Illinois, and has a background in pharmaceutical sales. While traveling in sales, she started training others in sales and presentation skills on a national level, providing workshops to help them sharpen skills. She is also host of “Mississippi Outdoors” on the Mississippi Public Broadcasting network.
“I’ve seen people’s lives transformed,” she says. “It can really make a difference.”
Willoughby grew up in Jackson in a family with an entrepreneurial spirit. He went into business for himself at an early age, graduated from Millsaps College and the Mississippi College School of Law. He has been active as a legal consultant and a businessman.
“My perspective is as a business strategist, how businesses pull their teams together,” he says. “Janet’s is more from an individual basis. We saw a tremendous value for these skill sets. The message is compelling for businesses.”
The two met at church and stayed in touch through mutual friends before forming CIM. “The more we talked about it, the more it made sense,” Willoughby says. “We hope to bring in more people and branch out all over the country.”
Parker says the most common errors speakers make are often their actions rather than words. “It’s failure to make eye contact, doing distracting things with hands, being jittery, pacing back and forth,” she says. “The audience may pay attention to the pacing instead of what the speaker is saying. Or, they may count how many times the speaker says ‘um.’”
She uses videos in training if the group is not too large and says everyone hates to see their videos and hear their own voices in the revealing before-and-after sequences.
“Non verbal is so critical,” Willoughby says. “Think about how quickly impressions are made. An impression is made the second you walk through the door.”
Parker adds that smiling is an important part of non-verbal communication. “Some speakers look like they’re attending an execution,” she says. “A smile goes a million miles, but people forget to smile. You want to knock them out immediately. Look confident and smile, start engaging the audience. Let them know you’re interested, you’ll add value.”
Willoughby says that based on research, 93% of the impact a speaker has on an audience is based on a combination of what the audience is seeing and hearing. “What they’re seeing is the difference in a magnetic and inspiring speaker versus a dull, uninspiring one,” he says. “Your words are important, but only if your audience is hearing you.”
For more information about CIM and to see a snippet of video training, visit the Web site at www.cimcg.net. In-person demonstration training sessions are also an option.
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynn Lofton at firstname.lastname@example.org.