Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Everyone is in sales

A recent delegate shares their thoughts about presenting

Conference Presentation by James Speckman


Before I began the course, I was quite apprehensive (to say the least), mainly because I’m not a natural public speaker, and I hadn’t done it in such a long time – but I know how important an impressive pitch can be in a publishing career, especially for someone just beginning to commission.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was hoping to pick up a few tips, or just some practice reading aloud, or workshopping content. The class was small, but an ideal size for nervous first-timers, and our tutor was brilliant at setting everyone at ease, very quickly. We established where each person in the class came from (company, role), and what they were hoping to achieve, and went through common fears, breaking them down in a useful way.

The most important part was to practice our pitches, and we each performed and then were critiqued (constructively, and positively) by the rest of class, giving us immediate feedback on the performance, and highlighting weaknesses that we then worked on for a second, final pitch. It felt incredibly targeted and specific to our individual needs, from the trade to academic, from editorial pitches to sales pitches ¬– which is a rarity. I felt challenged, as well as confident that I was in a safe environment, one in which I could make mistakes and learn from them.

I would heartily recommend this course for anyone looking to start their commissioning career and wanting to get a sense of how best to write and perform a pitch, but I can definitely see myself returning to the course for a refresher as I continue my career.

James Spackman is a freelance publisher and consultant you can follow his blog here


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