For many of us, we like to think that our talents, as wonderful as they are, should speak for themselves. People should see and acknowledge and be attracted to our gifts. And that would be great, wouldn't it? I used to feel that way too, until I realized what was missing. Presentation. There was little to none, and people can't appreciate what they can't see. It's just the way life works.

"No matter how beautiful our talents, or how awesome we may think they are, if others can't see and experience them, then they won't be able to see and appreciate them either."

The lesson on presentation presented itself during a food fair over the July 4 weekend. Side by side, were two food stands. One was selling BBQ ribs and chips. The other was selling chicken-on-a-stick with options of either fries, rice or noodles. In the chicken stand sat a girl calling out to people passing by. "Can I help you?" she yelled. She was irritating, but people were nonetheless drawn to the stand either out of curiosity, or because they simply couldn't resist the temptation of the beautiful display of sample plates which lined the front shelf of the food-stand. I ordered a plate of chicken and fries, then had to stand and wait for the chicken (which was being grilled out in the open) to cook to perfection before being served. The wait was anywhere from 5 to 6 minutes.

In the BBQ ribs stand right next door, a young man with a forlorn look on his face was bored out of his mind. Apart from people occasionally walking away with a bowl of ribs and chips, one could barely tell they were in business, or if they were, what was being sold - unless you stopped, read the sign on the stand, and the list of foods scribbled on a board by the tip jar or, you were just really looking for some ribs. 

After sampling the chicken-on-a-stick, my friend and I decided to sample the BBQ ribs as well. And do you know that we liked the ribs ten times better than the chicken? They had the best barbeque sauce I have ever tasted, the ribs were well cooked, juicy and tender, and their meal was 2 dollars cheaper than what we had spent at the chicken stand. 

To make a long story short, I began to wonder what was drawing people towards the bland-tasting chicken instead of the juicy, tender, finger-licking ribs. And that's when it hit us, "it was all in the presentation." Not only did you have the young lady calling for your attention, but you had samples on colorful display, smoke rising high from the open grill, and the line of people waiting for their orders. Naturally, people assumed it had to be good, so they were drawn to it. On the other hand, you had a bored looking young man with arms folded, not calling out, no food on display and an empty stand with the occasional customer stopping by.

People can't appreciate what they can't see - and what you don't try to sell. And, perhaps, the young man had an unwelcoming look because he might have wondered why people were walking right past his stand and heading over to the chicken stand. He forgot to look at himself, and his team, and figure out what the competition was doing right. He probably knew he had finger-licking ribs, but how was everyone else supposed to know that if the one selling it was not putting it on display and inviting people over to try it?

This week, I encourage you to take that first step towards putting your BBQ ribs on display. Is it a book you wish to write? Then start, and tell people about it. Is it a gift you have for making something special? Start, and let people know about it. Own it, be proud of it, and people will appreciate it too.

Happy Monday! Welcome to the month of July. I wish you a blessed and fruitful week ahead.



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