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May Luncheon: “Stepping into Your Power & Claiming Your Seat at the Table.”

June 1, 2014 06:00 PM

Written by Christine Breen, Nitsch Engineering and Member of Membership Committee

WTS-Boston welcomed Paul Weisman, President of SMART Conversations®, and Michele Simos Weisman, President of SimosConsulting, to speak at the luncheon on May 8th for a presentation on “Stepping into Your Power & Claiming Your Seat at the Table.”  The well attended and interactive luncheon was a joint event hosted by the Programs and Membership Committees.

Paul Weisman is a trainer and management consultant. Mr. Weisman’s signature training, SMART Conversations®, focuses on developing language skills and behaviors that help build relationships and drive organizational change. Michele Simos Weisman is a certified facilitator of SMART Conversations® as well as a professional coach specializing in career transition and women’s issues.

The luncheon started with an ice-breaker activity where each attendee was given three cards with an adjective on each. Participants were encouraged to assess whether the adjectives applied to them as a person. Before the start of the formal presentation, participants discussed their cards, the relevance of the cards to themselves, if applicable, and could trade cards for adjectives that more accurately described themselves.

Once the ice-breaker was over, Mr. Weisman and Ms. Simos Weisman presented a PowerPoint introducing the conversation concepts needed for the next activity. They outlined the components of a SMART Conversation®. One important tip was to make observations not assumptions and interpretations. They noted that the intention should not be to win a conversation, but that everyone should listen with the intent to understand.

The second activity focused on the goal of “getting a seat at the table.” Participants paired off and each acted as the coach for one round. The goal of the exercise was for the coach to ask questions provided on a handout about how their partner thinks and feels about “getting a seat at the table.” Some of the coaching questions included:

·         What does having a seat at the table mean to you? Is that what you are seeking?

·         Does your organization/supervisor know that you are seeking a seat at the table?

·         What can you do that you haven’t done to make progress towards your goal?

The sessions concluded with each participant committing to a specific action to get closer to their goal. After each session, Mr. Weisman and Ms. Simos Weisman asked the participants for comments and observations. One participant commented that there are actually multiple “tables” throughout your career. There is a table that you are working towards now; there will be a table that you are working towards in 5 years, 10 years, and so on. Another participant noted that no one should assume that others in their organization know what their goals are and that you will never get feedback about how your actions are or are not getting you closer to your goals if no one knows what those goals are. The activity ended with simple tips for projecting professional presence. The tips included offering to facilitate a scheduled meeting in advance, projecting your voice loudly and speaking clearly, and asking clarifying questions if you don’t understand something.


Speakers Michele Simos Weisman, President of Simos Consulting, and Paul Weisman, President of SMART Conversations, presenting at the May Luncheon. 

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