Inside every successful pitch is a gift.
A secret ingredient.
Something that leaves the audience thinking about the words long after they’ve left the room.
So what is it? What is the gift your pitch should be offering to every investor, rousing their interest and fueling their excitement at the same time?
It all starts with a new idea.
Here’s how an idea can transform what’s possible for your pitch — and its impact on the world.
The Basics of Story
If your childhood was anything like mine, you remember the wonders of getting lost in fantastical stories that made the impossible seem possible. Aesop’s Fables was one of my favorites.
Aesop, an ancient Greek storyteller, pulled on his observations of animals and humans to weave stories that were just as entertaining as they were teachable. At the end of each fable was a clear lesson: with “The Tortoise and the Hare,” it was about never giving up; with “The Ants and the Grasshopper,” it was about always being prepared.
Aesop’s Fables showed me, from a young age, that the best stories ignite new perspective. And that new perspective, when ignited naturally, leads to action. ???
Stories that Teach
And this is precisely why we are addicted to good stories: we learn something we did not know before.
And it’s not just children.
Little Red Riding Hood: one of the world’s most popular fairy tales, its message isn’t just about a big bad wolf. It’s about the idea that danger is out there, and that children should listen to their parents.
Finding Nemo: an instant hit when it arrived in theaters, its message isn’t just about a young fish going missing in the ocean. It’s about the idea that parents need to learn to trust their children and, to a certain degree, let go.
TED Talks: the presentations that go viral, that reach tens of millions of viewers, are the presentations that are grounded in a beautiful and unexpected idea. Take Sir Ken Robinson: his talk on our need for an education system that nurtures creativity was entertaining and profound because it left us with something new to think about.
The most successful CEOs know that pitching their science and technology isn’t enough. They know that putting their product at the forefront of their message won’t compel, resonate, or incite that perspective shift.
If you want to get your pitch into fighting shape, if you want to truly blow investors out of the water, you need to make sure you have something to give. ?
When Steve Jobs took to the Macworld Conference stage back in 2007, he didn’t talk about a new and improved telephone. He talked about the power of being able to hold a computer in our hands.
When Elon Musk gave his Tesla Power Wall presentation back in 2015, he didn’t talk about a better solar-powered battery. He talked about our earth being polluted, and our responsibility to take action.
Stories are about giving. They’re about giving your audience a new idea to think about, and they’re about giving them a reason to act.
How about your pitch?
Your company’s story doesn’t need to be groundbreaking. It doesn’t need to start a revolution or prompt a new industry.
But it does need to bring something new to the conversation.
A new angle for looking at disease.
A new insight into helping patients.
A new way to manufacture medicines.
You need to give your audience something new. You need to give them the gift of new insight, perspective, a story they haven’t yet heard.
Where Pitching Differs
If good stories are about giving something, poor pitches limit themselves to asking for something.
They don’t give the audience something new to think about — they just ask that they commit time to listening. That they commit money to helping it flourish.
But no good story is about selling; perspective shifts have to be natural. Action has to be earned.
So give your audience the beautiful, unexpected gift of a new idea. And watch their interest, and their subsequent action, pay dividends.
“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values, and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.” – Steve Jobs