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How To Sell Yourself

COMMUNICATION IS THE transfer of information from one mind to
another mind, or to a group of other minds. It can be in the form
of an idea, a fact, an image, an emotion, or a story. It can be
written, spoken, drawn, danced, sung, or mimed.
Whatever the medium, if the message doesn’t reach the other
person, there’s no communication, or there’s miscommunication.
The simple premise of this book is that every time you open
your mouth, in order for communication to happen, you have to
sell yourself. If you don’t sell yourself, communication is nearly
impossible. If you do, your message will get across.
We think of selling as being product-oriented. But that’s only
one aspect of selling. In the case of product sales, the governing
factors are usually the salesperson and the price. Even when there’s
a slight price difference, we rarely buy any big-ticket item from
someone we really dislike.
Ideas aren’t much different. The only time we pay close attention
to an idea being communicated by someone we don’t like is
when we have a heavy personal or emotional investment in the
subject.
I grew up in prehistoric times when ice was delivered by a man
in a wagon. Frigidaire was the generic name for electric and gas
“ice boxes” because it was the only one. There was no television.
Think of it...no television! Phone calls were made by calling an
operator. Most public transportation cost a nickel. So did a Coke.
Underage smart-alec kids could buy “loosies,” single cigarettes at
8 How to Sell Yourself
a penny apiece. What there was of an upper middle class could
buy a new car for $500. That was big bucks then. That was the
time when the voice was the critical communication tool. Radio
was the mass-communication medium. The political candidate
boomed his message from the rear observation car of the train.
Then, without warning, the industrial revolution evolved into the
technological revolution.
Today, everyone around us seems to be carrying a personal
palm-sized telephone. The laptop computer is almost a required
piece of carry-on luggage. The beeper makes civilized conversation
nearly impossible. It seems that nothing is out of technological
reach.
But somehow, there has never been anything to replace the
handshake, the hug, and the “hello.” Face-to-face communication
is still, and is likely always to be, irreplaceable. Whether it’s oneon-
one or one with a group, the personal touch is a powerhouse.
The keyboard will never be a complete substitute for the human
face, body, and voice. Yes, the machine can take us into new
adventures, but if it ever actually replaces our interpersonal relationships,
we will have become machines ourselves. Robots. Mechanical
replicas of human beings.
The child in school won’t become a better person because
there’s a computer at every desk in the classroom. Loving, caring,
giving, sharing parents, teachers, and administrators will always
produce a better-quality next generation. A mouse will never replace
a mom. Not even a Disney mouse.
There was a time when I believed that teleconferencing would
put airlines and hotels out of business. I’d have bet money on it. I
wasn’t thinking straight. In fact, not even the horrendous September
11, 2001 disaster could stop people from wanting to “work the
crowd” at meetings, conventions, seminars, and retreats. I’m more
convinced than ever that it’s even more important that we do some
essential things together. In the same room. At the same time.
Networking in the form of personal contact will never go out of
style.

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