Pitching Yourself

What Have I Done For You Lately?

When I worked in the phone company, MBWA--Management by wandering around was popular. Every so often, the guy two levels above me would come wandering around and ask me how I was doing. I learned to craft a one or two sentence sound bite of what I was doing for his group, the department and the company through my work.

My salary raises and bonuses reflected it. In effect I was pitching my worth.

Pitching Yourself

In Money Magazine I stumbled on an article about Ronna Lichtenberg, author of Pitch Like a Girl. "People don't stay at the same company for 30 years anymore," says Lichtenberg, "so there are always new people to prove yourself to."

It doesn't matter if you're a CEO pitching shareholders or an employee pitching your boss, you're going to want to let people know what you're doing for them or you'll never enjoy the success you deserve.

It's All About Them

The key to effective pitching involves crafting your pitch to be about what you can do to help the people you're pitching. Remember JFK: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

Figure out how your sales prospects, boss, or whoever like to do business and adapt your presentation to match their style. "Your goal should be to make it as easy as possible for them to hear your message."

Sounds like How to Motivate Everyone, doesn't it? Rapport, Rapport, Rapport! In previous ezines we've covered some of the basic rapport skills:

  • Stand or sit like they are. Are they leaning forward or back, left or right? Mirror the tilt of their head, the tap of their foot.
  • Breathe like they are breathing. When they're talking they must be breathing out.
  • When you speak, match their rhythm and tone. Are they faster or slower than your normal rhythm? Melodic or monotone?
  • Use their words! What words or phrases do they use repeatedly? What metaphors do they use? Is business about war with soldiers, jeep drivers and taking no prisoners, or about sport with coaches, teams, star players and scoring?

How to Motivate Everyone goes into much more detail about influencing language.

Relationship vs Task

Lichtenberg brings up one more key mental pattern: Relationship-Task.

Task-oriented people like to get right to business, cut to the chase.

Relationship-oriented people like to start by sharing something personal. I've found that I tend to lead with task and end with relationship, but this puts me at a disadvantage with people who like to get to know you before they do business.

Many telemarketers start with relationship: "Hello Mr. Arthur. How are you today?" I'm thinking: "What do you want? Cut to the chase!"

I'd rather send an email (task) than talk to people on the phone (relationship).

But I've found that if I change gears to match the relationship-oriented person I'm "talking" to, I get more business. I've also surrounded myself with people who are more relationship-oriented by nature.

Flexibility Wins

Wouldn't it be great if everyone else would have to adapt to you and your style? Of course it would, but you and Hitler would be in the same boat. Only autocratic dictators get that kind of treatment.

Lichtenberg says: "People are resistant to the idea that they have to adapt their style to someone else's." You bet we are. It means that you have to learn a new language and a new style of presentation to get buy-in.

The more flexible you become when dealing with the people around you, the more success you'll enjoy. You don't have to change who you are or your identity just understand yourself and how you need to adapt.

If you don't know your own style, take our Motivation Profile online

Lichtenberg says: "It's more like learning to respect the local customs when you're in a foreign country." Once you realize that every other person's mind is as different from yours as America is from Timbuktu, you'll be lot more understanding and flexible as you pitch yourself and your ideas to others.

Here's my point:

Learn to be a Human Mirror

You'll build better relationships and create a more joyous life.

Rights to reprint this article in company periodicals is freely given with the inclusion of the following tag line: "© 2008-2024 Jay Arthur, the KnowWare® Man, 888-468-1537, ."