Evangelists, much like sales and marketing professionals, tend to have a certain personality type, too, according to Sage. They're extroverted, they're not shy or anxious, and they love being with other people -- or on stage in front of an audience.
"If you're considering a role like this, you have to ask yourself honestly, 'Will I be comfortable?' If you're quiet, shy and anxious, it's going to be so much harder for you to get up in front of an audience, or make presentations to groups of engineers -- you've got to have the right kind of personality for it," he says.
Even at the CIO level, interpersonal communication and marketing skills are key, especially if you're advising other CIOs and peers on technology, says Doonan. "CIOs don't want to be sold, they want to have solutions 'recommended.' The challenge, especially if you're the CIO of a technology or software company who's trying to get others to use your stuff, is getting the tone and the approach right. This is a 'salesperson in sheep's clothing' kind of situation -- CIOs don't want someone banging on their door, they want someone to say, 'I've used this, here's my experience, here's why I think it'll work for you, too,'" Doonan says.
If you're considering a role as an evangelist, Sage has some simple advice he gleaned from his theater days: practice, practice, practice.
"Pick a technology you love, and give everyone you know demos of it. I remember, in 2004 when I was working at Hewlett-Packard, I got my first MacBook. I just fell in love with that thing, and I could not stop talking about it -- at work, at home, I showed everyone. And then, one day, a guy I worked with made a snide comment about how effectively I was evangelizing this product, and it just clicked. That's what we do, as evangelists, we embody the passion and the positivity that comes with 'selling' a great product," he says.
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