4 Apr, 2016

Teachers have to sell

“Physicians sell patients on a remedy. Lawyers sell juries on a verdict. Teachers sell students on the value of paying attention in class. Entrepreneurs woo funders, writers sweet-talk producers, coaches cajole players. Whatever our profession, we deliver presentations to fellow employees and make pitches to new clients.”

To Sell is Human

I have been listening to the audiobook ‘To Sell is Human’ by Daniel H Pink, the same author who wrote the very influential ‘Drive’, a book about human motivation.

His fundamental message throughout the book is that we are all in the ‘selling game’ regardless of whether we have a job in sales.   Pink uses the example of teachers and other educators throughout the book. Educators, he maintains are always trying to sell our subjects and our classes to our students. If the students have bought into what we are doing, they are more likely to retain information, be less disruptive and work to the best of their ability.

Throughout the book, Pink offers nuggets of advice on how to sell yourself to others.

One of the ones that stuck with me is the idea of ‘Buoyancy’, the ability to pick yourself and be positive despite what has happened that day. I think that this is especially important when working in a school. As we all know, there are bad days, and good days! If you are positive, upbeat and optimistic it will rub off on the students that you teach.

Pink also talks about being ‘attuned’ to the people you are selling to, really taking the time to understand them and what they want.  The better we know students, and the more time we take to understand them, the more time and attention they will have for us. How can we really get to know disruptive students? Can we find out what makes them tick? What really motivates and inspires those quiet, reserved students?

The author then talks about ‘Clarity’, are we communicating with our students in a clear, simple manner? Are we over complicating a lesson, or an idea? I think that there’s always room for this in our day to day lives.

Finally, the author offers some interesting ideas for ‘pitches’. You may have head of the ‘Elevator Pitch’, whereby employees have the duration of a ride in an elevator to sell an idea or introduce themselves to their boss (this probably doesn’t apply much to us in schools!). Pink offers many alternative pitches that can be used, the most interesting of which I found to be the ‘Pixar Pitch’. In fact, I found it so interesting that I used it as a plenary in one of my lessons. I’ve uploaded it to TES, ill let you take a look!

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *