“Do you realise that our entire life is a pitch?” My friend Lornah Tumuhairwe asked me this question as we were going for what would be our last pitch in undergraduate school. A pitch is what we, in the technology world (techies), prefer to call a “presentation” before a panel of judges or even just one judge. The term is becoming popular in other industries too.
Let me take you back to how this whole conversation started. Lornah and I have presented in front of many panels and for the fifth or so time today, I was telling her that it was my last pitch. That I would never again present before a panel of judges. I was getting weary of the all the tension, all the questions and the “there after” of every pitch I had made. I felt like I had done this for a long time and it was time to do something totally new.
I was leaving my university days in a much better position than I would have had I decided to just sit back, fold my hands and watch everything from afar. I have learned many lessons. I have experienced success beyond measure. I have gone through failures that I may not be able to retell. I have had moments of questioning myself and other moments of great self-assurance. I have learned to deal with rejection. I have learned acceptance and to still rejoice despite what is going on.
And above all, I have learned an important life lesson: life is one long pitching session.
Every morning, when you wake up, brush your teeth, get dressed, and step out of your front door to go run whatever errands you have for the day, there is one consistent thought that pops up in your mind: “How will people see me?” How will the client perceive me? How will my interviewer judge me? What will my friends say about this? How will my workmates find me?
Majority of life is spent presenting the big idea called “You”.
We are all an idea. We are all a potential solution to someone’s challenges. You are what someone might need to go through their day, month or year? You are what a company may be looking for to make that huge business breakthrough. You are probably the solution to today’s climate problem. You are what your boss needs to seal that business deal.
Like every pitch, the biggest question is, “How do you present ‘You’?” People who have witnessed many pitches know that the greatest ideas do not always win the competition, but an extraordinary person can turn an okay idea into a great idea, all depending on the pitch.
So, back to our question. How do you present “You”? We have already agreed that ‘You’ is an idea or a commodity that you are selling to someone. So, every conversation you will ever have, whether it is a 30 second chitchat or a one hour engagement, is an opportunity to present yourself to whoever is listening. And the art of presenting yourself is simply the art of communicating your worth. Unlike ideas and commodities whose price tag is set by the customer or the judge, you can set your own price tag. You determine your worth. And you communicate that worth in the way you present yourself.
And just like a good product that may not be well liked simply because it has not been presented well, so will your worth be diminished in the eyes of your listener(s) when you do not present yourself well.
Most of us only practice good self-presentation when we are going for an interview or a sales pitch. Yet, if we, on a daily basis, chose to take each conversation as a chance to leave a mark in our listener’s mind, we would open doors to opportunities that we would never have known existed.
Good self-representation should be among your greatest strengths. In fact, it should be an obvious quality for everyone, because the only thing the world will know about you is what you communicate about yourself. Not only in your words, but even in how you dress and carry yourself. Others will judge not on the hidden qualities you have within you, but the outward qualities that you communicate and radiate on a daily basis.
You’re life therefore is a full time pitching session. Let every minute of that session count. Let the world know the best there is of you. Do not sell yourself short!