Meetups and services are led by founder Shannon Dolan or guest experts for special topics.
Read about the inspiration behind Speech Party and Shannon's bio below...
This is my second try at saving the world.
When the seed was planted...
In college, my passion was save-the-planet skincare and I spent the majority of my time creating a line of sustainable cosmetics that were so pure they could be eaten with a complimentary biodegradable/edible packaging (side note: 1/3 of the world's landfills are comprised of discarded packaging from skincare products!).
As I embarked on the adventure of turning my products into a business, I went from being the chief inventor to being the chief spokesperson. I became a marketer, salesperson, negotiator and presenter as I entered funding and pitch competitions and negotiated with potential investors. My victories were big - I ranked in the top 5 at a national pitch competition and was offered funding deals from multiple investors.
The Problem: For every victory I had, there were many more challenges and frustrations. Winning pitch competitions certainly didn't come natural to me in college and it took a serious amount of work to give the winning pitch while being incredibly nervous on stage. I also remember sitting in strategy meetings and feeling like my ideas weren't heard. It was clear when important opportunities passed me by because I didn't find my voice in the right moment.
What I noticed, through my own experience, was that my business was like a car and my communication skills were the fuel that made the car go. I realized even if you have a BMW, it won't drive when there's no gas in the tank. I observed most people struggled, especially with public speaking, and they would have high-class BMW ideas. We would talk about our challenges and wish for superpowers that would allow us to give Steve-Jobs'-style keynotes.
I had grown up in a family that lived, ate, and breathed science and actually started college as an astrophysics major at ASU's Barett Honors College. When I decided to create a skincare line, I switched to be a Biology major and took graduate business and law school courses. This journey interlaced these two worlds for me and I wondered: is there a scientific formula to business as well as business communication?
The Good News: At that time, new research was emerging in the field of neuroscience that was unveiling the mystery of communication, charisma, and decision making. I was thrilled when I found that essentially there is a scientific formula for several aspects of business including everything from a high-value negotiation to legendary and charismatic keynotes by Steve Jobs. I was in awe of these driving forces behind business and human relationships.
After immersing myself in all of the science and research, in 2013, I partnered with a law firm with years of experience in negotiation, to give negotiation seminars that emphasized the science of communication that preceded decision-making. We worked with high-profile clients like the L-3 Communications company ACSS, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and the City of Phoenix.
Pursuing my dream to live in Europe, my next step brought me to Berlin, Germany with its thriving startup scene and I expanded my negotiations consultancy to include all communication and founded Speech Party. All along the way, I noticed how my science-inspired communication helped me successfully make a life-changing transition to a new country. I also realized that knowing the theory was not enough and, just like muscles, ongoing realistic practice was necessary. Speech Party was born and it is designed to be the gym for our business muscles that we all needed in school, but never had.
How we can Save the World
The biggest realization for me is how fundamental communication is to society and how our instinctive communication and decision-making habits don't serve us, especially in a high-distraction world. We have a non-stop internal and external dialogue that is shaping the quality of our daily life, and in the big picture, is shaping how effectively we contribute our talent to the world and form relationships with the people in our lives. Whether it's being a business leader, entering a negotiation, or giving a presentation we have an innate potential for being extraordinary. With a little guidance from the practical tools of science, and practice in a realistic setting, we can strengthen those muscles that will transform how we approach people and business on a daily basis.
We need big save-the-world ideas, to solve things like climate change and in the field of health, but just as important we need to empower the words and actions behind those big ideas. Whether it's raising awareness with children about how their bullying words can effect someone for the rest of their life, empowering a scientist to share her new discovery by standing confidently on stage, or encouraging a fledgling executive to speak his vision with passion in board meetings, we can use the science of communication, charisma, and business to create a communication consciousness that could literally help save the world.
That's my goal with Speech Party: to transform our life, by empowering our voice and talent. I hope you'll join me on this journey as the adventure continues to unfold.