Season 1, Episode 9
Dr Kimber Shelton, Psychologist, Author, Speaker, & Educator
Dr Kimber Shelton talks about the differences and considerations that people of colour face when they are pitching, as well as cognitive distortion, all-or-nothing thinking, mirror neurons, eye contact and a whole lot more.
I met Dr Kimber Shelton on Linkedin – I say met, but it was a case of true serendipity. I was pondering what type of guest would be a great addition to Pitch Masters, and it struck me that a psychologist could be pretty enlightening – after all, it’s understanding the psychology of the human mind that can offer the most insights into how we can truly communicate with an audience. I opened Linkedin, and there was Kimber before I’d even typed in a search. I reached out, and…here we are with an incredible episode.
Of course, we talked about the psychology of pitching – cognitive distortion, all-or-nothing thinking, mirror neurons, eye contact and a whole lot more. All essential learning for anyone who wants to become a better communicator – but we also got on to the topic of race.
For starters, while my focus before a speech or presentation is on things like body language, speed of delivery, and remembering anecdotes, Kimber explained to me that this isn’t necessarily the case for people of colour. Instead, for example, she has to consider the smallest of details about her appearance:
How will people react to her natural hair?
How will they react to any form of ‘cultural’ attire?
On top of that, there are the micro-aggressions:
“Oh, you’re a doctor?”
“You have a PHD?”
Or, topically, with the recent Lady Susan Hussey story in the press:
“But where are you really from?”
They’re usually subtle, but they accumulate, and confronting them in a room of white people isn’t easy, or even advantageous. On top of THAT, when you walk in a building and every single photograph on the walls is of people of a different race to your own, how can you not feel alienated?
I can’t pretend to know how this must feel, but I am so grateful to have had my eyes opened to this ‘other side’ of pitching. I’ve always considered myself to be self-aware and educated when it comes to racism, but this episode of the podcast was illuminating. Making a change requires all of us to do our part; we ARE the change.
The episode was enlightening, at some points emotional, and – as mentioned above – ALSO full of amazing psychological insights on pitching and communicating: cognitive distortion, all-or-nothing thinking, mirror neurons, eye contact and a whole lot more. All essential learning for anyone who wants to become a better communicator.
And remember, diversity is an ASSET.
In this short clip, Kimber explains one tiny step we can take, especially as cis-gendered white people.
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