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  • Tamar Balkin

So, What Exactly Do You Do?

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

The invitations have gone out for my March networking and focus breakfast, so, I thought it would be opportune to talk about business pitches and networking. The rapid pace and volume of communication, coupled with the constant creation of new and different types of careers, makes it essential to be able to quickly and succinctly describe what we do in terms that others easily understand. While I enjoy the simplicity of telling people that I am an Executive Coach, I am acutely aware that out of context or to the wrong audience it won’t be an effective pitch. As there are plenty of excellent sales and marketing books, blogs, videos, and articles about how to craft a good pitch. I thought it would be more worthwhile to share with you some tips from the attention and memory literature to help you maximise the impact of your message. In order for your pitch to be effective someone needs to:

  • hear it,

  • pay attention,

  • understand it,

  • remember it and

  • recall it at a relevant moment.

So before you go into any detail about what you do, it is essential to gain an understanding of what your audience does, and what matters to them, and find links and connections, thereby building a personal relationship that will increase their motivation to pay attention. Providing practical examples of what you do that relates to their world enhances comprehension, storage and relevant retrieval. Remember our brains have their own personal complex filing systems, and there isn't a universal ‘google search’ function. So when you include personalised elements in your pitch, the listener can store the information in a place that is logical to them, thus increasing the chances they will think of you at the right moment. The sheer volume of information we are exposed to on a daily basis, necessitates the need for repetition. However, as you would be well aware, reinforcing your brand via: business card, Linked-in, personal follow up, blogs etc will be more effective and subtle than simply repeating what you do over and over again the first time you meet a person. (Enjoy this funny YouTube of what not to do). Providing examples, of your work in the form of a little 'story' aids concentration, storage and retrieval (click here for the coaching examples page of my website for ideas). I wouldn’t be a good scientist if I didn’t recommend you test the effectiveness of your message. Begin in less threatening environments, amongst friends, family and even your children. Being asked by my 16 year old “So mum you are paid to ask people questions all day?” highlighted the fact that my pitch needed refinement. However, receiving a phone call from a new client requesting a proposal to provide coaching to team of newly appointed managers who have excellent technical but limited leadership capabilities, would be a wonderful example of a more successful “pitch". Finally a big thank you to Finlay Wilson for the great image and my friend Jacquie for the fun YouTube link.


References Pink, D. (2013) To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others. The Echo Junction Podcast with Adam Fraser Craik, F. I. M., & Lockhart, R. S. (1972). Levels of processing: A framework for memory research. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal behaviour, 11, 671-684. Craik, F.I.M., & Tulving, E. (1975). Depth of processing and the retention of words in episodic memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 104, 268-294. McLeod, S. A. (2007). Levels of processing. Retrieved from McLeod, S. A. (2007). Multi store model of memory. Retrieved from Wilson, F. (2017) Kilted Yoga. Brain Surgeon - That Mitchell & Webb Look , Series 3 - BBC Two

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