Treating Your Pitch Like United Nations Boss Application

I’m quite taken with this week’s new UN Sec General selection. Ban Ki-Moon’s successor might have a touch of democracy about them for a change.

Rather than being appointed through favour, the eight candidates face a two-hour grilling. Broadcast around the world, live. The 193 representative ambassadors then “vote”. The Permanent Five keep their veto. Perhaps to ensure FIFA-style fiascos don’t take place. But then again, Russia and China are involved…

Questions will be asked by concerned public voices. Apparently featuring diverse groups like schoolchildren and indigenous minorities.

Which suggests an obvious route we can take when interviewing for Sales roles ourselves. Would our biggest client want a particular query thrown in? Or our treasured delivery resource? Or even (whisper it) their potential team-mates?

What’s possibly of greater significance for me though, is the piece of work they must submit beforehand.

Called their Vision Statement.

Which has the groans of meaningless and cliched management speak all over it.

So it’d be fascinating to see if anyone can shine by being a bit different.

Akin to many an application form, I was reminded of the dreaded Personal Statement the UK university process requires of panicking seventeen year-olds.

I couldn’t help but think on what a similar couple of hundred words about your hopes for the project your pitching might be.

Then I clicked around the UN site to find the published submissions.

The Kiwi frontrunner offers eight pages; “a better, fairer and safer world”. After the single sheet cover letter, the parade of bulleted paragraphs contain just shy of 2,000 words.

Way too much for our purposes in the field. Yet there is something in this. Especially for a deal over the next month or two when the victor will be plastered across the world’s screens. Which you can directly reference.

What’s our ‘diplomat-in-chief’s’ statement for our proposed project?

There are definite pointers from Helen Clark’s bid.

For starters, the very opening heading is a corker. Shouty capitals and all;


Bleak from the outset. Remember we’ve wraths and monsters preying on us so forget any fanciful horizons of rainbows and unicorns, right.

Still, it is a little vacuous. Derivative even. When is the world not facing looming disaster?

I think she missed a trick here. As an outsider (and taxpayer funding her outfit, about to vote on the runaway excess of a similar Brussels experiment) my first thought as an alternative was;

making the UN relevant

Which instantly got me changing the last word. Understood. Appreciated. Admired. Loved. By all the people around the globe.

Perhaps the most telling lesson comes from backroom, corridor realpolitik. Regardless of snappy statement, I bet the decision is already made. Before the interview rounds even begin. And I’m sure this is pretty much the same with that Final Presentation your working on, right…

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