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Preparing for a pitch

From: Pitching Projects and Products to Executives

Video: Preparing for a pitch

(Music playing.) Dane Howard: I have had a great many years learning and failing and learning valuable lessons about how to prepare ideas to be heard. I've found that some of the greatest work that goes into moving ideas through an organization is being mindful of the people, environment, and context that surrounds all of your hard work. Preparing for a pitch has a lot to do about knowing your audience, understanding your collaborators, and listening to key stakeholders on where their passion lies.

Preparing for a pitch

(Music playing.) Dane Howard: I have had a great many years learning and failing and learning valuable lessons about how to prepare ideas to be heard. I've found that some of the greatest work that goes into moving ideas through an organization is being mindful of the people, environment, and context that surrounds all of your hard work. Preparing for a pitch has a lot to do about knowing your audience, understanding your collaborators, and listening to key stakeholders on where their passion lies.

Before a pitch is where some of your real work begins. Diana Williams: The one thing to know is your audience. Who is going to be in that room? Whether or not you are presenting to an executive or a colleague or someone else in the company, who are they, and what do they care about? What do they own? Where they are interested in? What questions are they going to pose? Ryan Tandy: As far as taking stuff to the higher-ups, taking your ideas up, that's--you have to have your stuff ready. Around my office we call them hero shots, because they are the glimmering heroes of the product that you are trying to build.

Diana: What I think is important, if you actually want to get buy- in on any project: you need to do your homework; you can't just go in and wing it. You need to understand what competitors are doing. You need any type of metrics or analytics. You need any additional insight that makes your idea believable. Rob Girling: If you really believe it, there is some infectious quality to that that will permeate a room quicker than sort of data points or sort of really dialed-up kind of beautiful PowerPoint or whatever you are pitching.

It's that belief in why you are doing it, and that sort of conviction that you have that's "We have to do this." It never ceases to amaze how effective that is at sort of wining the hearts and minds in the room. Diana: For me, I know one boss is super interested in data. So when you are going to have that meeting on one topic, it's all going to be about the data and what potential return on investment you are going to have. Another person I meet with is all going to about the user need, and where is this stemming from, from the customer basis.

Another person who might be, "Exactly how does it interact? I want to be a little play with it." Then someone else might want just a tidbit of everything in very high level. So I think it's important to know who you are meeting with and who those customers are. Michael Gough: When you are presenting ideas in a way that the person you are presenting to, or the people you are presenting to, will understand, and you are focused on the things that they care about, look for where their passions lie. Look for the things that they start to really tunnel into.

It's so critical to get you out of the picture and go with them. Go on that journey. If they are suddenly obsessed by something that you either think is ridiculous or just beyond consideration, go there. Work with them on it. Think it through. Then you are going to see it from their perspective.

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