Pitching Projects and Products to Executives

with Dane Howard and Richard Koci Hernandez
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Pitching Projects and Products to Executives
Video duration: 0s 45m 2s Appropriate for all


In Pitching Projects and Products to Executives, author Dane Howard interviews executives and product managers from renowned design firms and corporations like Google, Apple, and Adobe, who share their insider take on how to effectively move projects and product ideas forward. Video and multimedia producer Richard Koci Hernandez weaves the interviews together into a captivating visual narrative. The soft skills course shows the practical techniques, processes, and communication styles employed to sell to executives more effectively, and to bring ideas to life.

Topics include:
  • 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


- You ever wonder how some of those creative projects get approved for development? Get built by teams or even produced for TV, film, or software development? I did. I'm Dane Howard, a 17 year veteran designer, and entrepreneur. For years I developed my craft to help create the great creative execution. One of the things I never learned in school was how to move that creative initiative forward. How do you give it a change to succeed? Whether our project was pitched to a client, or inside a Fortune 100 company, how do you set up your creative projects for approval? How do you best prepare to get the funding, head count, or even get the project off the ground? Well, I wanted to share key things that I've learned on the job, from some of the smartest people I know.

My colleagues, collaborators, and some of the very executives that have helped give me the skills and approval to move these projects forward. - I think my whole thing with pitching is no, there should never be a high-stakes pitch. If it's a high-stakes pitch where there's 15 people in the room, there shouldn't be any surprises to you at that point, right. If there's a crucial stake-holder, you want to get them involved early, and have it be very informal and have a lot of options, right.

So, I think there's no news in the big pitch. - 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. - The big mistake the younger, sort of product managers and engineers make, is they spend a whole lot of time sort of setting up what it is that they're gonna talk about, when basically, you just wanna show it, right.

But they're so proud and nervous that they have to go through all these like, and then, and this, and this blah blah blah. So my thing is just put it out there as quickly as you can. - Never make it your idea. And that might apply to absolutely everybody. Everything you're doing around building consensus for an idea or building enthusiasm around the idea is never reinforce the point that it was your idea.

- I think one of the most important things of any designer is to realize that they don't exist in a bubble. And one of the most important skills that I've learned is to socialize. - So I have a very strong belief that the higher fidelity the better off you are. I'm kind of an anti-design strategy person. Or at least I'm accused of being anti-design strategy in that making that thing, the closer you can get to actually making that thing, the closer you are to really apprehending all of the challenges.

So, the best work happens when there is no distinction between design and making. - Now, the taking something and putting it in an executive's hands or the equivalent of that as quickly as possible is so important. Is if it's pretty clear you've closed, stop.

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