Taking cues from reality TV
Robert Galinsky teaching one of his seminars. (Andrew Hinderaker)
Reality TV may be in the realm of buffoonery and cattiness, but could it also hold the key to better business?
A city company that has coached more than 400 people about how to make a splash on programs such “The Tyra Banks Show” and Bravo’s “The Fashion Show” is now taking its song and dance to corporate break rooms.
The one-year-old New York Reality TV School recently branched out into executive coaching and group seminars, with the pitch that supersizing your personality can help people sell more, connect with clients and foster cohesion in the workplace.
Those who have undergone the training are a motley bunch —from bank executives to factory workers — and companies who have signed up include Virgin Mobile, Mohegan Sun Casino and Mack Trucks, according to Robert Galinsky, an acting coach and the school’s founder.
“(There are) many parallels between reality TV and business,” said Galinsky. “A confident, charismatic personality stands above the competition.”
During a recent session at a Long Island City eyewear company, activities included icebreakers and tangential nuggets about brain chemistry. The meat of the hour-long session was “double clicking the I to strengthen the we,” a series of exercises that had participants hone in on their proudest achievements to foster company goals.
Revealing one’s personal history — whether being able to bench 100 pounds or being the youngest manager of a Roy Rogers — stimulates genuine connections with clients that lead to sales, Galinsky said.
“When people pop on reality TV, it’s because their personality has done something to build a fan base. Audiences can tell,” Galinsky told workers at Zyloware Eyewear.
Zyloware participants said the session helped them feel pumped and more attuned to their clients. That’s a perk, as the recession has taken a toll on morale, said James Shyer, the company’s chief operating officer.
“I saw more productivity,” Shyer said. “When you feel like part of the team, it gives you more of a purpose.”
The enthusiasm boost comes with a hefty price. Galinsky charges $275 an hour for private coaching, and corporate contracts go into the tens of thousands.
Galinsky, who helped turn 50 Cent into an upstanding actor, said the reality TV focus gives a unique perspective in making people better leaders.
“(These sessions) make people work harder and work smarter,” he said.