Simon Terry

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Leaders need to pitch

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place – George Bernard Shaw

Recently I was standing in a long coffee queue. Standing In front was what someone who sounded like they were interviewing for a job. All the way through our long wait to reach the front, this individual told the story of their career & achievements in rambling self-centered & quite dull stories that the entire queue could hear. The expression on the face of the listener told me that he was equally uninterested. I was quite surprised that someone who clearly had a lot of experience could do such a poor job of pitching himself.

At the front of the queue, the individual finally acknowledge it was a long story but added ‘I need to tell you all this so you understand my leadership approach’.

He didn’t need to tell us ‘all this’. His story summarised to a few adjectives and two sharp sentences. At that moment, I realized I had the situation backwards. The only reason his audience was listening was the speaker was the hiring manager (Probably also explains why he thought everyone else should hear too).

I believe leaders need to be able to communicate their point of view and leadership approach. However for it to have value it needs to be as concise and as impactful as a pitch. The power of putting forward your point of view is to allow others to engage with it. Your pitch must be engaging. Leaders need to efficiently sell themselves. You cannot abuse people’s respect for your position by wasting time or attention. That waste will only be counterproductive on the relationship and your authority as a leader.

If you want to refine your pitch, here’s some questions to get you started:
-What is your purpose? Why do you lead?
-What 3 adjectives would others use to best describe who you are?
-How do you want your team to feel?

Be concise. Be impactful. Focus on what others need to know.

In short, sell yourself like you are trying to get hired, because every day a leader need to re-earn their authority.


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