Making that connection — it’s what we always want to do whether we are talking with friends and family, meeting with a client, or giving a presentation before a large group.
“The words communication and connection are entwined,” says speech presentation coach Eileen Sinett. “But today communication has come to have the connotation of a one-way experience; we communicate through an E-mail or a report or a phone message. But to connect with someone is to interact with that other person; to both give and receive a message.”
“Connect” is an important word in Sinett’s vocabulary. Speaking That Connects, Sinett’s company, based at 610 Plainsboro Road, also is the name her new book, which was published in August. And to help deliver her message on the importance of making connections (as opposed to just contacts), Sinett will host “Connecting With Clients” at her monthly networking breakfast on Friday, September 30, at 8:30 a.m.. Cost: $10. E-mail eileen@speakingthat connects.com.
The breakfast meeting is an open discussion, rather than a lecture. “I come up with the themes, but this is not me instructing the other people at the breakfast,” Sinett says. “The value I see in our breakfasts is that we learn from each other — we connect. It is an innovative process where the discussion emerges in the moment.”
Sinett has worked as a coach and consultant, a facilitator, and keynote speaker for more than 25 years. She first became interested in helping people with physical disabilities after watching a Jerry Lewis telethon in high school. “I’m probably one of the few people who can list Jerry Lewis as a career influence,” she says. She first thought about physical therapy, but a counselor, after looking at her interests and strengths, suggested speech pathology instead.
She enrolled at Emerson College in Boston, which offered a wide variety of courses in every aspect of speech communications. “Everyone in speech pathology was also required to have a minor in communications arts,” she says. “That meant that I took courses in interpersonal communications, debate, and oral interpretation as well as in speech pathology. We were required to perfect our own overall communications skills as well as learn about our particular area of study.”
Sinett received her bachelor’s degree in 1971 and earned a master’s in speech correction from Kean University in 2002. Her first job was in a county hospital where she worked with children who had developmental problems and geriatric stroke patients. Her next position was with what is now the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Sinett left the hospital in 1979 to strike out on her own. She now provides individual coaching and customized group programs for leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs. Her clients include large corporations, non-profit organizations, and individual professionals.
Sinett also has several unique presentations that she gives to groups, including Speaking That Connects workshops, ReHearsals, a practice, technique, and feedback forum for public speakers, and DEPTH (Delivering Exceptional Presentations That Heal), a professional speaking group. Through the Plainsboro Library she works with English as a Second Language students to help them to reduce their accents and become comfortable speaking English.
Her book focuses on the process for presenting with confidence and engaging your audience. On Friday, November 11, she will hold a talk and book signing at Plainsboro Public Library.
For Sinett, connection is about much more than just verbal communication. “It is how we communicate with each other through our body language, our relationships, our intentions, and our compassion,” she says. “It is dynamic, not static.”
Connection is particularly important in business. “Whether you are making a phone call, meeting someone at a networking group, or negotiating a contract, making a connection with the other person is an important part of supporting that relationship.”
Connection is about listening to the other person’s needs and becoming aware of how you can help them.
Sinett’s book focuses on connection when speaking to groups. “Public speaking is the number one fear — even before death — in the Book of Lists,” she says.
While we often think of the keynote speaker presenting to hundreds when we talk about public speaking, most of us at one time or another must speak before a group. Whether it is a 30-second “elevator speech” at a networking event or a presentation before a group of colleagues in a corporate setting, connecting with the audience is an important part of selling your ideas, she says.
“The subject matter isn’t important,” Sinett says. “Even if you are presenting a dry list of facts and figures at a budget meeting, the important thing is to connect with your audience so that they can better understand what you are presenting.”
So many times after hearing a presentation the listeners walk away with a polite yawn and no real memory of what was said. “I want more people to have presentation excellence,” she says. “I want their listeners walking away feeling a connection to the speaker, and thinking about the ideas they heard.”
The easiest way to avoid leaving your listeners bored and strengthening their connection it to learn to be comfortable with yourself while standing in front of an audience. “Again, the connection between speaker and audience is about so much more than words,” Sinett says. “It is about body language, facial expression, your message and your delivery – all of these are the things we use to express our ideas to other people.”
Connection, she says, is about expressing the essence of who you are to the people who you are with. No matter what the situation, learning to make that connection will improve your communication.
Editor’s Note: Miller is the owner of Open Door Publications in Lawrenceville, which published Sinett’s book.