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The Art of the Imperfect Pitch | Stanford Graduate School of Business

Stashed in: Influence!, Emotion, Presentations, Problem?, Funding, Business Advice, Brain, Awesome, Stanford, startup, Psychology!, Selling!, Leadership, Innovation

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"I’ve extracted two vital pieces of advice for anyone trying to promote innovation to higher ups.

The first is: Figure out if the person you’re trying to pitch to is really open to new ideas. If not, find a champion in the upper managerial levels who you think might be. Float your idea to that person first, and then have him or her present it to the target manager.

The second is: Don’t provide your champion with a polished pitch. Let it be a little bit rough around the edges. This may seem counterintuitive, but having something that leaves room for expansion inspires people to get involved in your vision. Having the “perfect” solution, on the other hand, tends to inspire critique.

Behind all this is scientific research about what makes people tick. Although the human brain is a sophisticated instrument, at its core, it’s nothing but the organ of an animal, prone to instinctive responses. If you really want to succeed at bringing innovation into your company, you need to be aware of how your brain works.

The instinctual brain operates according to what I call the “X Framework.” This comes out of studies on animal behavior, particularly those conducted on baboons by Robert Sapolsky, a professor of biology and neuroscience at Stanford University. Like our primate relatives, humans are governed by two pathways that you can envision crossing in an X formation. One moves us from anxiety or fear to contentment. The other moves us from boredom or apathy to excitement.

In other words, if the brain is experiencing highly physiologically arousing emotions associated with stress, then our first instinct will be to stay away from excitement and seek comfort instead. Baboons under stress, for example, will not pursue new territories or mates."

Let me see if I can summarize this.

Selling is about connecting EMOTIONALLY:

1. The other person must be open to connecting.

2. Be authentic and not too polished so the other person is inclined to participate.

Wow, great advice.

great because i dislike polish

You should be prepared but not too scripted. Is that what you mean?

I read the article as "For maximum buy-in, let the other guy(s) be the hero(es).  Everybody wants to shine.  If you hand them a perfect product, there is nothing left for them to do.  Let them perceive there is work to be done that only they can do."  And that most likely is the case.

Nothing feels better than solving a problem.  Our brains are wired that way.  Exploit THAT.

It's like inviting your audience to participate with you. I like that.

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