April 18, 2013
Bring me to your granny's birthday party, and I'm sweet as a lemon square. (My favorite.)
Bring me to meet the parents, and I'll bust out the pearls.
Bring me anywhere, and you'll get sweet, demure Ashley.
But bring me to a board room?
And it's shark time.
If you're like most people, the mere thought of pitching ideas, speaking in front of a room, or asking for the sale is nauseating. But for some sick, alien-like creatures like myself…it's the most thrilling thing in the world.
There's nothing better than nailing that delivery. Having a roomful of people on the edge of their seats. Commanding respect. And landing the deal.
Most people, however, are under the impression that being able to do something like that well requires natural talent. An outgoing disposition. A go-getter attitude. And a thick skin.
But most people are slightly, respectfully, (really) wrong. At least when it comes to this little fun-filled arena of anxiety-inducing affairs.
Because in a situation like this, it isn't about what nature brought to the table (though a solid set of dimples never hurts). It's about what YOU bring to the table.
And what you bring to the table can be learned.
For example, when most people go into a meeting to sell something, they inevitably open with some variation of the line, “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today.” But guess what? That's a piss poor idea, because the minute they open their mouth with something like that, they've already lost the sale.
When I was in advertising, I'd always open a meeting with, “I'm so glad I could come down and meet with you today; I've only got 20 minutes, so let's get started.”
And there's a big difference in those two opening statements. One assumes a submissive position; the other assumes a dominant position. It demonstrates to a prospect that they, as a prospect, are the commodity–not you. There's a million people you could be doing business with. But…there's only one you.
And by extension, they, as the prospect, need to be selling you on why you should do business with them–and not the other way around.
It's a simple change of mind set. And if you walk into any meeting with the perspective that you're doing them a favor?
That, however, was not something I came out of the womb instinctively knowing. It's something I studied. Something I read about. Something I experimented with over the years. And something I learned.
And that, really, is the point of it all.
Anything is learnable.
Pitching. Business chops. Marketing. Writing. Design. And anything else you want to throw into the mix.
You can do this.
You can do anything.
And you can be damn good at anything, too.
But you can't just wing it and expect to be a pro.
You've got to learn how.
So the next time you royally screw something up? Instead of berating yourself for it–go read about how to do it better next time.
Because piss poor never won any awards.