Toastmasters: Persuasion project 1

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I did my first project from the advanced manual on persuasion. Learned
a lot from it, too – and not necessarily what the manual might’ve wanted me to learn… <laugh>

They remarked once again on my lack of energy. I was too low-key for
them. I decided not to use sugar-high-enthusiasm because I want to
learn how to talk to suits. I’m good at enthusiasm. I can bounce up
and down, wave pompoms, whatever. I need to learn how to speak to
people’s serious sides, not just amuse them with my antics and my
enthusiasm. I need to learn how to provoke thought and establish
credibility. I’m not going to be this young forever, and I want to
learn how to speak properly by the time I need it!

Fortunately my evaluator also pointed out that I used a pleasant pace
– accessible! – not like my usual rush of words. Still, this is the
second time I’ve tried my serious voice on Toast I.T., and the
reaction’s always been iffy. They like me breathless with enthusiasm,
bubbly, sparkling – but I’m more than that! I’m having a hard time
getting past this with Toast I.T., even if I wear a blazer and glasses
and everything. I want to be both. I want to blend seriousness and

Maybe I can save my “low-key” voice for IBM Toastmasters. Hmm…

The three- to five-minute roleplay situation for me seemed constrained
and unnatural. This is strange because I’m perfectly fine with
elevator pitches. I think I just need to get better at roleplaying.

I should probably have tried selling something concrete that I wasn’t
too familiar with instead of selling something intangible. People seem
to think that selling ideas is easier than selling something concrete
because ideas don’t cost money, they just cost time. I wish I could
make _them_ try to sell other people on ideas. Time is money. In fact,
time is a lot more expensive than the gadgets many people would
casually throw money away on.

One Toastmaster was particularly vocal about my being an absolute
failure at “real” sales and how I’d be fired right away if this was
the real thing. He insisted that sales was a hypercompetitive,
cutthroat world and that salespeople are paid tons because of the
competition. Personally, I believe that salespeople are paid a lot
because they clearly contribute to the bottom line in a quantifiable
manner. I also suspect that any numbers-driven sales that’s just
concerned with how much the salesperson makes is totally not for me.
I’m more interested in relationship building. Fortunately, my mentor
called him to task and told him that there were other perfectly valid
ways of selling.

… And this guy also wondered why I didn’t have any flashy slides. After
all, we all know that Powerpoint is _essential_ for sales. Mph. Well,
he was trying to be helpful, and there _are_ some audiences that need
a slide deck. For what I was doing, that was definitely out of the

The same person thought I didn’t control the conversation enough, and
that I let my roleplay partner do too much of the talking. I thought I
did too much talking and not enough listening. I felt that I broke
into too many long passages, and I hate that. I feel that I’m most
effective when I listen to people, suggesting something after I’ve
understood their situation and validated them by paying attention to
them. I hate it when people fake listening, when they just care about
when they get to speak next. I hate it when people pretend they want a
conversation with you but they really just want to sell you stuff and
their message isn’t individualized at all..

Wish I had my mom’s books to whap the guy with! <laugh> Well, he
_was_ just trying to be helpful, and _his_ world is probably the
dog-eat-dog world he described. I’m 22 and I’m new to the subject, but
I get the feeling that there aree zbetter things out there.

Oh well.

I think I know what I’m going to “sell” for project 2 – houses. Or whatever.

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