Join Dane Howard for an in-depth discussion in this video Learning what executives want, part of Pitching Projects and Products to Executives.
(Music playing.) Dane Howard: A great skill you'll continue to hone, over and over, has less to do about the creative execution itself, but more about reading people. I once had an executive that couldn't resist the temptation of just a simple phrase: "Hey, you want to see something cool?" I knew I had his attention. If you listen to your audience, you begin to understand what they care about. Leaning what executives want has a lot to do about understanding their perspective and listening to what they care about.
Michael Gough: What is the person you're talking to interested in? What drives them? It turns out it's probably not pixel-perfect control or a beautiful drop shadow. In the case of walking into the CEO's office, they're probably a lot more interested in business performance. You have to speak their language, or at least you have to understand what it is. What do they care about? What makes them to tick? What are they looking at? Because it's not the same thing you're looking at.
You might be looking at a really beautiful rendering and be very proud of the rendering. They may not care about that at all. They might be trying to look through to the business implications. They might be looking through to how it would have to be operationalized, what the costs are associated with it. They might be looking at legal challenges to your idea. You need to consider all of those things to be successful. Diana Williams: For me, I think it's always important to share the executive's perspective. Hopefully you know enough about them, and if you don't, you should find out from someone else what their viewpoint is.
What do they care about? What do they want to hear about in the meeting? Tim Barber: We're never too shy about asking for the money to do the project that we pitched. Especially as the project gets larger and larger, you can't just make a creative argument for it. You actually have to put on your MBA hat and make a business argument for it. Even if it's in the simplest terms, you have to kind of speak that language. You have to articulate, for lack of a better term, like the return on investment, which is kind of an annoying thing for most creatives to even consider. But yeah, you have to be able to articulate the business benefit and the results.
Rob Girling: In a business environment you've got be able to hold your own against the numbers guy and the practical guy in the room who has got that slightly more-- slightly better-sounding kind of sound bite. You've got the emotional position, which is always a different one to argue in a business environment, right? You've got the qualitative versus the quantitative. There are all these difficult things, so just what I said earlier about conviction and sort of believing in it, and not losing it, emotionally, when you're trying to express yourself, I think that's a very powerful thing; sort of having the conviction, but not getting so--not taking the bait, it will get you a long way.
- Getting and incorporating feedback before the pitch
- Creating a list of key stakeholders
- Deciding on the format of the meeting
- Effective prototyping
- Providing an intimate setting
- Being succinct and staying on-track
- Making the presentation
- Closing the deal
Skill Level Appropriate for all
Q: Where can I learn more about communication skills?
A: Discover more on this topic by visiting communication skills on lynda.com.