Category Archives: Business

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Presenting and Selling a Great Idea

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PR people in corporate offices all over the world are pitching new ideas that resonate with key audiences.These ideas are constantly emerging in the market place making it a continual challenge to getting your idea to the forefront.

It takes a skilled communicator to grab the attention of your listener. You need to know your audience and speak their language to get your message across. You have to understand the motivation of your listener. Be very specific about the details of your idea like, explaining specifically how much money it could potentially produce or save them.

“Buyers ask themselves: ‘Is this person competent, based upon past performance? And ‘Is this person speaking with candor or handing me some BS?’” says Neil Racham, author of the bestseller Spin Selling.

Decision makers are going to filter a pitch from their own perspective. So keep who the audience is at the top of your focus. Explaining your idea from a practical business standpoint will allow the investor to see your idea from their own perspective.

Beyond your business plan, it is important to adapt your story to whoever the listener is. Be able to talk technology with someone in IT or if you’re talking to an accountant, focus on ROI.

According to Edward R. Weiss, who is general counsel at Group One Software and over saw the acquisition of 15 firms. “Investment decisions usually involve teams of people, each with different expertise.”

Skilled communicators take nothing for granted they don’t just wing it, they know how they’re going to grab the attention of their listener and they know the key messages that they’re to get across.

In order for a pitch to be affective it needs to be clear, concise, specific and emotional. You want to be able to explain your idea in just a few sentences and avoid using jargon.

Buying is always an emotional act, especially so when it’s an idea being sold. People get excited when an idea that makes intuitive sense and it is those feelings that ultimately culminate into actions.

After you know the words that you’re going to use and you know the key messages you’re going to hit, it’s all a matter of applying that pitch to the real world.

When you are pitching an idea you are really pitching yourself. You are the brand. How you talk, walk and look will all reflects upon that brand. How you are coming across is all very important.

“When you’re trying to sell somebody a new idea, you must persuade them that the idea confirms their own opinions, rather than proves them wrong,” says Seth Godin, author of Permission Marketing.

After you have pitched the upside of your idea, make sure your listeners know that you have considered the potential risks and that you have taken steps to minimize it. Acknowledge potential problems but offer solutions. You have to be ready for objections like, your idea has not work in the past. Be ready to tell your listener why your idea is new and why it’s different, or how the environment has changed and now is the time to implement your idea.

Follow up your pitch to keep the momentum going. Ask questions to keep your listener engaged and involved in the conversation. Set a plan of action and get involve.

You have rehearsed, you know your story, you know your audience, your speaking their language, the pitch itself is clear, concise and concrete. Now the pitch has a good chance at working because you will tell a compelling story around a sound business idea.

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Persuasive Argument Strategies Logos, Ethos and Pathos

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Explained in his highly revered written work “Rhetoric”, Aristotle laid out persuasive strategies to support a case and respond to opposing arguments.  Using these three appeals in combination will make a good approach to any argument.

Logos is based on facts, reason and rationality. It’s an academic approach to proving your side of the argument. Logos appeals to the logical side of reasoning so think of facts. When reasoning with people, provide them with factual reasons why they should believe you. You can also use aids like charts, data and bar graphs to bolster your logos. It’s like the mathematical proof to your argument.

Logos uses two main forms of arguments which are inductive and deductive. The inductive argument begins with the specifics and then moves to the general. The deductive argument begins with the general and moves to the specific.  Whichever form you use there must be a sufficient amount of reliable evidence that represents the situation for logos to work.

Ethos, a Greek word meaning character, is based on the speaker or author’s character and credibility. A key thing to remember about ethos is that your level of credibility is based on how your audience perceives you. Some aspects are respect, good character, trustworthiness and authority on the topic. Using the power of authority with quotes can help credibility.

You can use quotes by famous people like doctors, judges, presidents and engineers. Quoting someone who has good social acceptance and is thought of to be a persuasive person will add power to your argument. So if you are persuading a group of people about leadership you could give a quote by Norman Schwarzkopf like,

“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy”.

Pathos is an appeal to the emotional sensibilities of your audience. Essentially you want to associate pathos with pity. It can appeal to the senses, memory and common experiences. This is the poetic feel of your argument and will give people a reason to be on your side. To get an emotional response from an audience you can use storytelling, metaphor, analogy, anecdote and simile. Some of the emotional aspects for evoking feelings are love, sympathy, compassion, envy, hate, contempt and fear.

Understanding the persuasive appeals gives you the tools on how to persuade people. Think of them as guide lines when it’s you job to change people’s minds. An if you’re the audience its helpful to understand these persuasive appeals so that way you will know when someone is trying to use these tools on you.