Everyone’s got things that they want to share. Whether you’re talking with your business partner or looking to pitch a concept to investors or a senior management team, you absolutely need a process to get people onside with where you’re at. I spend most of my days pitching ideas, developing new ideas or evaluating the ideas that others have. These three steps work for me as a structure. Maybe they’ll work for you too.
It’s easy to look at your pitch and to be pleased with your work; to feel that it has captured you perfectly and expressed what you are about and what you have to offer. It’s also irrelevant. Because, to be blunt, no-one’s as interested in your pitch as you are. They’re really only interested in themselves and what you can do for them. They probably hear similar claims and ideas everywhere they turn.
The “Ice Bucket Challenge”, the viral awareness campaign to raise money for ALS, has swept the world in the past month or so, raising over $100 million for a cause that was previously under-profiled, and flooding social media, so to speak, with videos of people from all walks of life pouring ice-cold water over themselves.
When you’re hard at work on ambitious projects, it’s a given that the team is pushing the boundaries of what would have been considered sensible. I choose those words carefully – “would have”, because these projects are always about ways forward but are often judged on references back; and “sensible” because that’s the filter that so many people put across the recommendations they get.
This article in the New Yorker recently revealed that the iconic Got Milk? campaign actually failed to reverse declining milk consumption and has now been all but scrapped. It’s a reminder to all of us who create and promote ideas that awareness (to the point of ubiquity), even for an idea that’s good for us and makes sense, is no guarantee of success.
If you’re pitching for a new piece of business, especially in a competitive situation, ask “What will happen for them [the people who’ve put the business out to pitch] if everything goes to plan?” Knowing that enables you to plan an approach to make that level of success happen.