Updated: Jul 31, 2021
Hi everyone! My name is Arrad Mostafa and I will be a senior at Sir Wilfrid Laurier next school year. Last Monday, I had the amazing opportunity to attend Illuminate Leadership Academy Lecturer Dannielle Sakher’s presentation on her journey and "How to use sales every day". I was able to get some amazing feedback and takeaways from her very enlightening lecture and I've listed them below.
Ms. Sakher’s presentation was very informative and engaging from the start. She shared 5 leadership lessons that would help us create our career journey regardless of the occupation. Frankly, I was preparing for some tips that may be difficult for me to execute. However, the 5 that she shared are possibly something we understand subconsciously but are afraid to act on it.
5 Leadership Lessons:
1. Most people are more experienced than you. It's ok to ask for help:
It is very simple if you think about it. When we are trying to learn something new, there is someone else who has the experience to help us out. Nevertheless, we refuse to reach out and figure it out ourselves. We need to go and ask others for guidance with an open mind because that is the only way we can move forward. I sometimes also feel uneasy reaching out and putting myself in the position where I need the teacher or supervisor to repeat or show me how to do a task. It is not an easy thing to overcome, but sometimes a small decision or a request can go a long way. Over time, I hope to be able to ask questions and get feedback with an open mind.
2. Make the most out of mentorship:
Similar to asking others for help, mentors are those who are specifically chosen to help someone. There is always something new that you can learn from them. Talking about mentorship reminds me of a quote another Illuminate lecturer, Sam Thiara, said. “A mentor’s knowledge is like a tube of toothpaste. You can continuously squeeze out more information even if you think there is nothing left.” From Sam's lecture, I have tried to implement this in my life. I really am astounded by the results. The mentors at Illuminate and the other guest speakers are so helpful and have a vast amount of information they are willing to share. All you need to do is ask the right questions. Asking the right questions is difficult at times, but it is a skill that I hope to become proficient with in the future.
3. Be ready to enter an open door:
Most doors that you meet will start off locked and require you to use a specific key to enter. If by chance one is opened for you, take the leap of faith and enter. Even if you don't know what the other side has in store, you will undoubtedly gain some experience that you will be able to use elsewhere. Doors won't stay open for too long, so seize the opportunity. After listening to this leadership lesson, I slowly came to realize all of the doors that have been opened to me but I was too hesitant to take the chance. Opportunities come and go, but you can't wait for one to fall on your lap. I need to stay observant and try to find myself an opened door and take the leap of faith needed to improve myself.
4. You will not know what to do until you try:
This key point also relates to the former. You never know if you will build a passion for an activity until you try. The activity might also provide you the opportunity to walk through an opened door. This tip relates to the “winning the lottery, but losing the ticket” scenario. There might be a time where you were given the chance to be a part of something you have no prior knowledge or experience on. If you were to disregard the invitation, you could have lost the ticket to the lottery.
5. Sales are a highly transferable skill:
Sales are not only applicable in transactions or an economic setting. We use sales skills in our everyday lives whether it be convincing your friend to watch a tv show or when presenting to a large audience. Sales are also related to the skill of storytelling. Storytelling and sales can be implemented in multiple different fields and are critical for any task at hand. Whether it be for a school presentation or talking to investors when starting up a business, being able to effectively pitch your sales and story tell will undoubtedly help you.
Near the end of the presentation, we commenced a surprise pitch competition. We were asked to find a random object in our room and give a pitch in 10 minutes to the group. As was searching around my room for an object, I started to realize that I can’t even recall the last time I practiced pitching an actual product to a group. I probably only did it once or twice before in school for a STEM project.
I started to panic a bit but then calmed myself down and came to a full stop. First, I focused on finding an object. I wanted to be unique so I didn’t consider using the speakers, fans, or educational utensils in my room. Then I noticed my binoculars on my bookshelf and decided that it would be my product. My next order of business was to find the qualities of the binoculars that will apply to a wide variety of consumers and plan out my speech chronologically.
Luckily, we were sent to break-out rooms with a couple of other attendees to practice our pitch before sharing it with the whole group. In our groups, I was able to give and receive constructive feedback that further helped me prepare for the larger debut.
When we rejoined the main room, I could tell that everyone was still in unease about their pitch. One by one, I saw my peers give their pitches and were in awe of how well they presented. I then soon volunteered to present and gave my pitch. Afterward, I received more feedback from both fellow attendees and Ms. Sakher.
From the presentation given by Ms. Sakher and the interactive pitch competition, I can say without a doubt that I have learned and gained so much. The 5 leadership lessons are something I will need to further act upon and become conscious of when a limited opportunity arises. Through the pitch competition, I've gained amazing feedback and will have to continuously practice it till it becomes second nature. Thanks to Ms. Sakher, I have gained practical experience in how to implement sales and will strive to use it in different situations.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience listening to Ms. Sakher's amazing talk. It was super enjoyable as I was able to practice my sales skills but also informative as I took away 5 lessons to act upon in the future. The speakers with Illuminate continue to surprise me and I can't wait to see what I will experience next.