Believe! The Psychology of Persuasive Pitches
Start-up founders, in my experience, are dynamic, intelligent, committed. Yet, sadly, if you watch them pitch, you often see very little of that. Although they are impressive individuals with potentially great ideas, that can easily get lost.
As I trainer, I’ve been able to help many great people turn this around and unleash their natural talents: to free themselves, to engage, and to transform the experience of pitching both for the audience and for themselves. They just need a little help finding the right direction.
The problem is almost never the people, but rather in how they often approach the pitch.
Instead of show-casing their many talents, a formulaic pitch can constrain them tighter than any strait-jacket. I’ve seen expertise coagulate into an indigestible ball of details, business cases sink in a morass of figures, passion and energy get swept away as the pitcher fights against a stream of slides.
Even the better pitchers can fail to engage their audience. Their pitches are clearer, but can still come across as kind of constant barrage of telling, telling, telling. The secret is to say less and get the audience to think more. People don’t want to be told; they want to be involved.
So my challenge as a trainer is to bring about a change in perspective – of 180 degrees.
Your pitch is not about you; it’s about your audience.
First, this means thinking about investors, customers, partners, and understanding what they need to hear. But it goes much deeper than that.
The fundamental challenge is to recognize that your audience are human beings with human limitations. Listening to a pitch is far from natural. We listen to people all day, of course, but we do so in natural conversation, where, on average, we don’t listen for five minutes, or even one minute; we listen for just eight seconds.
That’s why I centre my training on understanding your audience and making your pitch as brain friendly as possible. My thirty years experience in teaching and training means I’ve learned the hard way what works and what doesn’t in making your message stick.
We investigate three challenges, and look at the tools you have to meet them.
Attention – how can you get it and keep it? Your proposal needs to be clear and compelling. If you know the rules of attention, you can make sure that your key points cut through.
Belief – how can you be credible? Your track-record and honesty are important factors but so, too, is the language you use. The right words, in the right place, at the right time, can work wonders.
Care – how can you get them to want what you want? People will only take action if you can spark some emotional involvement. The way you structure your points and the language you use are the keys to firing them up.
Tools and Techniques
I give you the tools to tackle these issues, tools developed over thirty years in my own training, and in helping others to present in industries from finance to pharmaceuticals, from academia to advertising.
In particular we learn how to apply the following to pitches:
- audience psychology: types and wants
- three emotions that are magnets for attention
- how structure can make your problems melt away
- the importance of body language
- the perils of power point
- the use and abuse of statistics
- the ancient art of rhetoric and dynamic delivery
The results speak for themselves. Proper pitch development lifts you above the competition.
I’ve worked with many start-ups, individually and on a range of accelerator programmes. We’ve had millions in investment, international pitch prize-winners, and seen our start-ups snapped up by the big industry players.
They’ve all learned the benefits of putting the audience first and crafting a pitch to spark interest, kindle curiosity and ignite desire.
I’d be happy to talk to you, and see how I can help you too.
Please contact me HERE