Pitching Like a Pro

Daniel Pink

Lesson time 19:01 min

Daniel explains why the elevator pitch is a thing of the past and shares a variety of pitches you can use to sell an idea, a product, or even yourself.

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Topics include: The Question Pitch · The Rhyming Pitch · The Pixar Pitch · The One-Word Pitch · Write Email Subject Lines People Want to Open · Use Granular Numbers · Bringing Your Pitch Into Focus


[00:00:00.00] [JAZZ MUSIC PLAYING] [00:00:07.23] - I think a lot of people approach pitching in the wrong way. I certainly did until I started researching it. And there's some really interesting research where two scholars spent time with screenwriters and Hollywood producers. And they actually went to a whole set of pitch meetings to see what was effective and what was not. [00:00:25.89] And what turned out is that what made an effective pitch was not what I would've suspected. And like many things in life, I realized that I'd been doing it wrong. [00:00:35.49] The conventional view is that the purpose of a pitch is you do a little song and dance and you say ta-da! And the other side says, that's brilliant. Let me get out my checkbook. [00:00:46.80] That was not an effective pitch. The effective pitches were this. You offer up your idea. And you know you're in good shape when the other person says, huh, that's interesting. Have you thought about doing it this way? Do you think you could add that? What if the protagonist were a woman rather than a man? [00:01:07.65] The pitches that were effective were pitches that weren't this kind of vaudeville act where you're awaiting your applause, but were pitches that invite the other side in as a collaborator for you to co-create things. The objective of a pitch is to begin a conversation and a collaboration, period, full stop. [00:01:31.89] The purpose of a pitch is not to get a "yes" right there. That doesn't happen very often. The purpose of a pitch is to start a conversation and build a collaboration. [00:01:43.44] Those are the pitches that really were effective. And it's changed the way that I pitched and should change the way that you pitch. [00:01:51.50] [JAZZ MUSIC PLAYING] [00:01:57.55] I want to go back in time to a moment in US political history. The year is 1980. Jimmy Carter is President of the United States. There are American hostages that have been taken in Iran. There is an energy crisis. [00:02:15.30] And most of all, the economy is in bad shape. Unemployment is high. Inflation is high. Phenomenon economists call stagflation-- they hadn't seen it before. Things are looking pretty grim. [00:02:28.95] Jimmy Carter has a challenger that year in the Republican Party. His name is Ronald Reagan. So Ronald Reagan could have said, your economic fortunes have deteriorated. He could have said, stagflation is a stubborn problem that I vow to get rid of. [00:02:47.69] But he didn't do that. What he famously did, one of the most ingenious, persuasive moves in the history of American politics-- he didn't make a statement. He asked a question. [00:02:58.25] - Are you better off than you were four years ago? [00:03:02.63] - So brilliant-- he did it instinctively. But now we know from a whole array of research that this is a very effective persuasive tool, the question pitch, the question pitch. [00:03:14.33] When the facts are very strongly on your side in making an argument, questions a...

About the Instructor

With four NYT bestsellers, Daniel Pink is an influential voice in the evolving landscape of sales and motivation. Now the author of To Sell Is Human teaches you science-backed principles for effective and ethical sales and persuasion. Learn tactics for achieving better outcomes in any interaction—at home or at work—and tools for framing your message, navigating cognitive biases, and pitching ideas, products, or yourself.

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Daniel Pink

NYT-bestselling author Daniel Pink shares a science-based approach to the art of persuading, selling, and motivating yourself and others.

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