Biggie & I, Pre-Presentation Rituals…

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Getting inspiration from the Notorious BIG.

As easy as it sounds this goes a long way…Like the totem in inception that differentiates what’s real to you and what’s a dream. Everyone needs that little action or series of actions you carry out that helps with the hibbie-jibbies before public speaking, or in our case pitching.

Over the years different styles have been used as a one size fits all from picturing everyone naked (this is grotesque by the way, and if it works for you…best you check yourself) to picking one or two persons you can focus on and make eye contact…BS! The truth is there isn’t a one size fits all. Everyone has to discover theirs, it’s a personal trip of some sort that no one can help you discover but sure can tell you it’s needed and we all have it…and do it some unconsciously more than the rest of us.

I stumbled on mine some 15 years ago, realized it for what it was about 8 years ago and every time I have proceeded into a pitch without it, I have found myself having cold feet…this doesn’t have anything to do with studying your slides prior especially if you weren’t part of the process…this is a given.

I’m talking about having studied your slides, making your notes and you walk in and you get that zombie to stare down…very un-nerving.

Yes 15 years ago, heading to a client’s office and damn was she a scary one, you know that kind of woman, fierce, exposed, knows what she wants and doesn’t believe Nigerians have a brain…yes that kind of woman (Long before the feminist movement you all are clamouring for today, she was strong strong…I am pretty sure she was a man in her previous life). I had worked on the presentation, went over it over and over again, yet I felt unsure of myself not of the work…some kind of inadequacy or inferiority complex and I decided to listen to music to calm my nerves whilst driving.

Radios were more ads than music at that time so I had to go to the Only CD available in the car…Life after death CD by Notorious BIG disc 1.

Playing without really focusing till this chorus came up;

Niggas bleed just like us
Picture me bein’ scared of a nigga that breathe the same air as me
Niggas bleed just like us
Picture me bein’ shook
We can both pull burners, make the muthafuckin’ beef cook
Niggas bleed just like us
Picture a nigga hidin’
My life in that man hands, while he jus’ decidin’
Niggas bleed just like us
I’d rather go toe to toe with all of y’all
Runnin’ ain’t in my protocol…

 I was shook! I repeated the chorus, had the track on replay, in all about 13x before I pulled up to the clients’ car park…as I walked through reception and into their board room with the song burning in my head…I felt like a gangster, looking at everyone like you all don’t know me…like Denzel in the training day scene ‘King Kong ain’t got sh*t on me!’

Needless to say, it was a success, and every now and then I went back to it but found out when I didn’t I felt funny. I got older, and still winged some of my pitches without it but where I dominated, I found out I went in with Biggie.

Now I have come to accept Biggie rapping the verses into my ears, and trust me it never failed me.

What’s your ritual?