A motivational speaker gives her tips on business success

Debbie Mayo-Smith: Three tips on how to get that job or sale

Photo / File.
Photo / File.

You know how important it is to sell yourself while interviewing or speaking to a prospect, don't you? However if you're like most of us, you feel very uncomfortable tooting your own horn. Am I right?

Well here is a suggestion to help you stand out from other candidates, or other pitches by getting your point across in a story.

Yup. Stories not only help you to be more memorable and persuasive, you can use them to get that benefit of 'you' out without seeming boastful. For example a story on How you helped a client; worked in a team; saved money. Telling a story well requires skill. Here are three tips to improve your success.

I/You Ratio

When we converse with people, we always talk from our point of view. The focal point is what you did, what experience you had, what happened to you. However people don't care about you - they care about themselves. Someone that interviews wants to make sure they are hiring the right person for their company.

That they're making the right decision. The same for sales - people care about what you/your product will do for them. There rework your story away from I, me and bring them into it.

How do you portray the story from the listeners' perspective? Instead of beginning with "I cut overheads by 10 per cent" change it to "You must have times when you need to have your staff try to help you cut costs. It was the same with our company and I was able to reduce costs by 10 per cent by...". Their ears will perk up with every 'you' they hear. See how you can change an I statement to one with four you's?


Good stories have flesh and blood characters and dialogue. Tell your story through the conversations that occurred. Describe the people, the weather, set the scene. People think in pictures. Draw them with your words. Use specifics. Instead of simply saying last year, you would say It was a Tuesday afternoon, the normal Auckland drizzly spring you have in Mid-October.

Hollywood it

The story doesn't have to start in the beginning, nor told in sequence A through Z. Movies don't do that. Go for the dramatic statement, one that grabs and makes one want to know more. Then you go and back fill the story.

To highlight how your idea saved money you story could start: "You just saved this company $100,000" my manager Phil said with glee. Let me explain. You might have had cost cutting measures in your company like we did one year ago.... "
Have any good stories in this vein? Please share them with us.

Written by international speaker and bestselling author Debbie Mayo-Smith For more tips, sign up for her monthly newsletter here.

Written by international speaker and bestselling author Debbie Mayo-Smith. For more tips, over 500 how-to articles visit Debbie's article webpage.

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

A motivational speaker gives her tips on business success

Debbie is one of the most in-demand speakers in Australasia; in the top 7pc of speakers globally and well-loved for her practical, plain talking technology quick tips. A best-selling author of sixteen books, Debbie has sharpened the activity of over 1 million individuals around the world through her presentations, training, newsletters, books and videos.

Read more by Debbie Mayo-Smith

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 28 May 2017 20:23:46 Processing Time: 508ms