Author: Arch Lustberg
Publisher: Pinnacle of Grace
Reviewer: Goke Ilesanmi
One of the ways to excel in life is to know how to effectively position, sell or market yourself in every situation. And communication is very critical to success in this area. That is why I want us to examine this text entitled “How to Sell Yourself”, with the subtitle “Winning Techniques for Selling Yourself …Your Ideas…Your Message”.
It is written by Arch Lustberg, a communication expert whose client list contains a who’s who of business leaders, association executives, elected officials and top professionals in every field.
Lustberg taught Speech and Drama at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. for 10 years. He co-produced the Tony Award-nominated musical “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope” and also produced and directed many record albums in the days of the LP, most notably Grammy Award-winning “Gallant Men” by the late Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen. He directed the United States Chamber of Commerce Communicator Workshops, prior to opening his own business, Arch Lustberg Communications.
Lustberg says communication implies the transfer of information from one mind to another mind, or to a group of other minds. He adds that it can be in the form of an idea, a fact, an image, an emotion, or a story, stressing that it can be written, spoken, drawn or danced, sung or mimed.
This communicator says whatever the medium employed, if the message does not reach the other person, there is no communication, or there is miscommunication. This author then submits that the premise of this book is therefore to stress that every time you open your mouth, in order for communication to happen, you have to sell yourself. Lustberg asserts that if you do not sell yourself, communication is nearly impossible and if you do, your message will get across.
According to him, we think of selling as being product-oriented. He educates that this is just one aspect of selling. In the case of product sale, the factors are usually the salesperson and the price, adds Lustberg.
He says even when there is a slight price difference, we rarely buy any big-ticket item from someone we really dislike. Lustberg stresses that ideas are not much different, especially that the only time we pay close attention to an idea being communicated by someone we do not like is when we have a heavy personal or emotional investment in the subject.
This communicator illuminates that these days, good written communication is as hard to come by as good spoken communication. He assures that many of the principles in this book that cover speech will also work for writing, stressing however that not all great writing lends itself to being spoken.
Lustberg says too many speechwriters are writing for posterity, as they hope to create great literature. According to him, many speechwriters do not either know or have forgotten that the speech should be written for the speaker’s style and for the audience’s ear.
Lustberg educates that the spoken word is what this book is about, and it can be very tricky. He submits that you can have the best message in the world, but if you do not present the message the way you intended it, you are probably communicating the wrong message.
This text is segmented into 14 chapters. Chapter one is entitled “Selling yourself”. According to Lustberg here, there are three things you need to sell yourself, and these are competence, likability and luck. He says the first two will almost always deliver the third. Lustberg stresses that having competence and likability is not enough because most of us already have them.
He asserts that what is needed, and what this book will emphasise, is the audience’s perception that you are competent and likable. The author educates that it is not about faking it, or fooling the audience. In Lustberg’s words, “Real people like you and I need to learn some basic techniques that will let us be our real selves in the presentation situation.”
Chapter two is based on selling your competence. According to the author, there are four communication tools available to each of people, and these are the mind, the face, the body and the voice. He says he is going to oversimplify matters by calling the way you use your mind the audience’s determination of your competence; and your face, body and voice your like ‘likability’.
Lustberg expatiates that we can call the mind the ‘substance’ and the face, body and voice the ‘style’. “Or we can refer to your mind as ‘what you say’, and the other three as ‘how you say it’. I realise that it’s an oversimplification. There are large areas of overlap, but it really helps me simplify and synthesise my points for you,” says the author.
He adds that only very few people are wonderful when they are winging it, explaining that some are “naturals” while most are not. Lustberg explains that it usually takes a lot of hardwork to appear spontaneous.
He asserts that you should not forget that you know more than anyone else about certain things, because you grew up in a particular family, attended specific schools and churches, had certain friends and influences on your life, and had your own jobs.
Lustberg says you are unique and you need to use this to your advantage. According to him, only you can put it all together in your particular way, but you need to do it with care. The author educates that the most important step in responding to a question or an accusation is to let your preparation work for you and the way to do that is to pause.
In chapters three to eight, this author analytically X-rays concepts such as selling your likability; selling with confidence; selling with the right signals; selling yourself as a speaker; selling yourself in confrontation and media interviews; and selling yourself in the classroom.
Chapter nine has the subject matter of selling your product. Here, the author discusses how to sell your product by selling yourself. Lustberg says over the years, he has trained thousands of Merril Lynch financial consultants. He stresses that at first, the people he trained were professionals with several years of experience and above-average sales records. “They reported that their sales shot through the roof after understanding the open face, eye contact, gesture, storytelling, personalising, and appearing not as sales professionals, but as loving family members,” illuminates Lustberg.
He adds that for a sale to take place and for customer satisfaction to be the final and enduring result, some basic principles must apply. These, according to him, are: first, you must know your product; second, you must believe in your company, your product and yourself; and third, you also know the territory. Lustberg stresses that to accomplish the three steps, the good salesperson must equip him- or herself with intelligence, integrity and initiative, that is, the three I’s as identified by Steve Niven.
In chapters ten to 14, this communicator examines concepts such as selling yourself in the job interview; selling when testifying; selling yourself in meetings; selling yourself in negotiations; and the ‘selling yourself’ handbook.
As regards stylistic assessment, this text radiates uniqueness. This is expected given that Lustberg is a communicator. The language is simple and literate while the presentation is very logical. Lustberg employs a lot of reflective illustrations, analytical details, autobiographical effects, classical/literary allusions to achieve conceptual amplification and enhance readers’ understanding and conviction.
What’s more, he employs visual textual distinction by making areas of conceptual emphases bold to attract attention. The cover is glossy and visually seductive and the inside pages well laid out.
However, one error noticed on page 15 is “Real people like you and me need ….” instead of “Real people like you and I need….” The object case of the first person singular pronoun “Me” is supposed to be in the subject case “I” because it (“Me”) is not serving as an object to any antecedent.
Also Lustberg can still improve on this text by harmonising the chapters for conceptual compactness. Doing this will even reduce the problem of conceptual repetition and redundancy noticed in the text, which he himself admits in chapter nine.
In spite of these shortcomings, this text is a good one. It is a must-read for anybody that is prepared to showcase his or her competence and achieve success through effective communication strategies.
GOKE ILESANMI, Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is a Certified Public Speaker/Emcee, Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker, Career Management Coach, Renowned Book Reviewer, Corporate Leadership Expert and Editorial Consultant.
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