Saturday, April 11, 2009

You're Always Presenting Yourself

I don’t care how many degrees you have on the wall, if you don’t know how to sell, you’re probably going to starve.
—George Forman

I guess George Forman didn't get a PhD in Communication. It's probably true that he didn't start his professional boxing career thinking, "Well, if I lose this fight, I can always sell kitchen-top grills."

One reason a lot of people pursue advanced degrees is precisely because they don't want to go out and "sell." The reality is, even tenure-track professors have to sell themselves, to a selective group of people known as their tenure committee. They also have to sell their scholarly articles to the editors of the journals valued in their discipline. There is no escape from selling/marketing/presenting.

Even the imprisoned sell through their efforts to get early release, or improved living conditions.

Coming from the communication perspective, I see that we're always presenting ourselves. Forman, and others, see it as always selling yourself. Seth Godin sees it as always marketing yourself.

This is how Chellie Campbell put it in The Wealthy Spirit:

Everyone is in sales. When you convince your significant other to go with you to the movie you want to see, that’s a sale. When you convince your child to stay in school, that’s a sale. When you convince a friend to stop drinking, that’s a sale.

Each of us presents ourselves, our ideas and our projects constantly. We're persuading people to eat their broccoli, contribute money to a charity, give blood, do their homework, hire us, promote us, come to our dinner party, read our blog posts, or even improve local schools.

Only you can decide whether you're ready to take advantage of all the opportunities you encounter each day to present yourself, your ideas, and enjoy an authentic connection with others.