Pitch Perfect

Pitching yourself, some love it, some hate it.  When attending a network event or a new business opportunity presents itself, its beneficial to have a well-rehearsed elevator pitch to pull out the bag in an instant and make you stand out from the crowd.  People build an impression of you in 30-60 seconds, so you need to get your message across quickly and with confidence.  So by the time you’ve finished reading this paragraph they’ve possibly already formed an impression of you – make the time count.

So let’s start to think about what you need to get across.  It’s not just about what you say, but also about how you engage with the other person and displaying the right behaviours to build rapport instantly.  People will support you if they like and trust you.  Take some time out and consider the following:

  • What do you want them to remember about you as a person and what can you offer?
  • How could you fit in with their organisation or clientele?
  • Consider how you can hook them – think about 3 areas of passion, interest or objectives
  • What are you working on now and what’s your aims for the future?
  • Engage with them by asking questions – remember you’re not quoting your CV but engaging in real conversation
  • What’s your call to action that’s value-add – perhaps it’s to stay in touch or offer something to them?
  • Remember the behaviours and the rapport building:

o   Do –

  • Match their body language
  • Make eye contact
  • Use their name at least once
  • Really listen and show genuine interest in what they have to say
  • Be enthusiastic

o   Don’t –

  • Corner them and keep them too long
  • Get hung up on your job title – it says nothing about who you really are
  • Forget it’s a real conversation and not a speech

Once you’ve thought about this, start to formulate your pitch and reflect on the required behaviours.  Then get yourself in front of a mirror, camera, or voice recorder and practice, practice, practice.  You’ll learn so much about your mannerisms, buzz words you always use, and tone of voice, so don’t skip this part no matter how uncomfortable this may feel.  If you’re feeling brave, and to get maximum benefit, enlist the help of a trusted friend or colleague to pitch to.  Ask them to be completely honest in their feedback, what’s the point otherwise.  If you’re feeling really brave, ask them to ‘step into your shoes’ and copy both physically and word for word how you introduced yourself.  Just 10 seconds of your greeting as they see and hear you will tell you what no amount of practising in front of a mirror will.  Do it, you’ll learn something about yourself you didn’t know.

By putting in the time to create your pitch in advance, practice it, refine it, and practice some more, you’ll set yourself up to deliver a perfect pitch with confidence and get your message across.  Good luck!

“Remember, if you don’t promote yourself, then no-one else will!  Likewise, believe in yourself or no-one else will either” – Donald Trump


The Generation Game

Cuddly toy, toaster, decanter.  No, not the TV gameshow that started in the 1970s! I’m talking about the game of managing and motivating the Baby Boomers, Gen Xs, Gen Ys and Gen Zs.  Which one are you?

Right now many businesses have a workforce spanning decades, bringing with it some puzzling questions about how to keep these diverse groups engaged, motivated and valued.  “I just don’t understand them” is a phrase on many people’s lips. So how can people get what they need to be at their best when everyone wants different things from their employer and in life?  Whether you’re an employee or an employer, recognising and understanding generational differences can be hugely beneficial to our culture, bring harmony, and get you ahead of the game.

So you’ve got Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Gen X (1965-1979), Gen Y (1980-2000) and Gen Z (2001-present) all with different aspirations, beliefs and values.  Each have grown up in very different environments and experienced mixed fortunes economically.  Technology has played a huge part in generational differences with today’s children never knowing anything but a digital world.  The phrase “a job for life” no longer applies. Many roles performed today wont exist in the future having been automated or become redundant, and businesses that are just a seed in someone’s mind right now will create jobs we’ve never even heard of.  The demand for more flexible working arrangements are higher than ever.  Interesting times.

Whilst this is a challenge for employers there’s lots that we can do as individuals to better understand each other and get on the front foot.

  • Be aware that generational differences exist and commit to some internet research to understand how each are characterised, and help avoid inter-generational conflict
  • Ask your employer if they have a plan for engaging, motivating and valuing their people across all the generations and to share their learnings with you
  • If you’re thinking about a promotion or going for interview, being forearmed with knowledge of how other generations approach life and the world of work may be to your advantage and help build rapport quicker – chances are a different generation will be interviewing you!
  • And if you’re doing the hiring bear in mind that not everyone is driven by salary alone, so be aware of other generational drivers such as flexible working, coaching and mentoring
  • If you’re a line manager or working towards management then strong leadership skills are becoming increasingly important, so perhaps consider some leadership development

We all have different goals, aspirations, drivers and work ethics, and finding a way to work together and thrive together isn’t easy.  But if everyone got to know themselves and each other that little bit better we could achieve great things, and coaching is just one option to help you explore what can be a delicate topic.

“Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it” – George Orwell