Important Lesson: Personal Pitching

0 50

Words by Kevin Danson

A couple of weeks ago I found myself sat in Cinema 2 of Cornerhouse Manchester before one of the best-known authorities on design and popular culture, Stephen Bayley. As founding director of the design museum, a former creative director of the Millennium Dome and contributor to a number of national and international papers and magazines, we had our notepads on our laps and pens poised in position for his Life’s A Pitch talk.
Stephen introduced himself as a complete fraud and imposter despite contradicting himself with his frequent phrase ‘without sounding Machiavellian’. Nonetheless, we took pride in his homage to the late Steve Jobs as most of us had succumbed to at least one of his divinely presented instruments over his technological reign. Lesson one of the night comes early; presentation is key to success.
With his self-invented persona, Stephen gave us another handy tip, that even though every single person is made up of 96.2% of organic elements, the difference we possess is intangible individuality; the personality and style we create for ourselves. ‘Dress is the style of thoughts’ he quoted from the philosophical Lord Chesterfield, and indeed it is. So, lesson two; ‘You will not be judged by your accent, but you will be judged by your shoes’ again, Stephen quoted.

Lesson three; confidence. Stephen Bayley exuded confidence from the stage, which portrayed him initially as a charming gentleman though now I perceive the flaws of what too much confidence can do. We got briefly distracted by lesson number four; the craft of handwriting. A letter has much more effect, he said, for certain things as it shows you have spent time writing it, spent money sending it and made an all-round effort with the recipient (my gran?).

The fifth lesson is indeed a great lesson; a good memory to record names, dates and quotes he advises us, gives a fantastic persuasive simulacrum of high intelligence. As spectators, we can see how his lessons, bar the fourth, have coalesced, leading us to accept Stephen Bayley as a well-versed crowd pleaser, slipping in several quotes per discarded speech card.
In spite of the fact that my notepad hadn’t filled up with the pitching wizardry I anticipated, in addition to finding myself a few times getting lost in my own rambling thoughts as per the speaker, I’ve been bestowed with some excellent tips on how to create a persona (if I choose), maybe some new shoes and study more quotes. I leave you with a few of Stephen Bayley’s quotes of the night for you to consider:
Trying is just the first step to failure’ – Homer Simpson
Getting things wrong is just an opportunity to start again more intelligently’ – Henry Ford
Aut tace aut loquere meliora silentio’ or ‘Either be silent or say something better than silence’ – Salvator Rosa’s ‘self portrait’
Kevin Danson is an English Literature student at MMU who likes to share his ramblings. Read his blog Pebbleddash and follow him on Twitter @pebbleddash

About the author / 


aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

Leave a reply

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

More News Stories:

  • Bakar @ Albert Hall live review – Bakar dares to dream big 

    Featured image and gallery: Georgina Hurdsfield The gloomy refrain “I hate the facts, I hate the situation” echoes affirmatively among the gothic furnishings of the Albert Hall. The fact is that 5000 fans have converged under the ornate roof; the situation being the first of Bakar’s two sold-out shows in Manchester. The aforementioned lyrics couldn’t…

  • Of Mice & Men @ Rebellion review – metalcore masters tear it up

    Featured image and gallery: Ameena Ceesay So-Cal band Of Mice & Men have spent the better part of a decade rising through the metalcore ranks. A couple months from the release of their 8th studio album, Tether, and as part of their UK and Europ…well, Germany tour, they grace the Rebellion stage and proceed to…

  • Anne Marie @ AO Arena Manchester review – A perfect and unexpected theatrical experience

    Featured Image and gallery: Ben Redshaw From West End childhood star and karate world champion to BRIT Award-winning popstar, Anne-Marie arrives at the AO Arena on the back of her third studio album, Unhealthy.  Leah Kate, an American singer best known for her post-heartbreak songs, is the opener. Kate tells the story of sliding into…

  • Manchester creatives celebrate identity, community and queerness at the 2023 Bound Art Book Fair at Whitworth Art Gallery

    Featured image and photography: Anna Klekot The Bound Art Book Fair returned to The Whitworth art gallery this month, featuring over 65 exhibitors showcasing a range of creative work including zines, books and posters. The gallery was filled with independent publishers and artists showcasing creative projects, and featured free artist talks open to the public,…