By: Kenny Jhang
“And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” -Matthew 5:36-37 NIV
Have you ever thought about how different the business pitches you give to potential clients or investors should be from your competitors that aren’t grounded in faith? Christ-followers have the benefit from some direction given to us in Matthew 5:36-37. Letting Jesus’ words inform the process where you define and refine your pitch will help avoid risking a blurry delivery. One downside to ignoring the wisdom Jesus imparts might bring similar consequences as Jephthah’s over enthusiastic pitch in Judges 11:30-31. There are three overarching areas where employing a specific lens to view the pitch process can make a difference in promoting shalom and gospel-centered renewal:
How You See Your Pitch: Jesus’ sermon touches upon the swearing of oaths, or verbal contracts, in Matthew 5. Spending time with this passage can help influence how we see our own business objectives in the pitches we give to secure a customer contract or investor commitment. Is our focus over-weighted upon the end only? Or is the journey of building a relationship based on trust and authenticity as important as the destination? The reason why the pitch should not be a casual affair is because as Christ-followers, we see the basic building block of Christian living in relationships. The pitch becomes the actual beginning, not a test or pre-cursor to a possible relationship in front of us.
How You Build Your Pitch: Efforts to establish trust is not reflected in a successfully sealed contract or oath… or a perfectly spinned pitch that emotionally secures the signature. “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’” reminds us to keep it straight-forward enough for full accountability even before the start of any working relationship. While investors and clients may seemingly be drooling for that magic bullet, long-term success is initiated with pitches that are built upon clarity, simplicity and truth. The only way to achieve this is through proactive self-inventory and focused speech. It takes time to be intentional and articulate regarding the real value and differentiation you bring to the relationship. A huge side benefit to getting this right is being able to attract and establish the right relationships for your venture. What exactly is the claim of distinction you are offering? Likewise, what exactly are the boundaries for where you are not a good fit? Is your aim to enrich yourself or the entire relationship you are pitching?
How Others Receive Your Pitch: The imperative command Jesus gives in our anchor text, Matt 5:36-37, can be met by presenting the claims and promises in the pitch while establishing trust via integrity. If you pause to reflect upon what Jesus presents, upright and unentangled pitches zero in on how we can impact both parties’ current trajectory in a positive way vs. being concerned only with how the contract will only help our own position. Once you have built a pitch with elements that honors the relationship you are creating, what else is left? Practice until what you deliver is true for both, tantalizing for the hearer, yet tranquil to you.