InsightsPOSTED March 6, 2015

Make it compelling, to begin the conversation

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Pitch

We’re exploring the best communication advice ever, including a guest blog post from a former APEXer. 

The best communications advice I ever received came not from a person, a lecture, or a seminar, but from a book.

In fact it wasn’t from a book about PR, but from a book about sales.

In his book “To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others,” Daniel Pink suggests that whether you’re an employee pitching colleagues on a new idea, an entrepreneur enticing funders to invest, or a parent or teacher cajoling children to study, you likely spend your days trying to move others.

In other words, like it or not, we’re all in sales. While the book itself is filled with practical advice that changes how the reader sees the world and understands the notion of sales, there is one particular piece of advice that has stuck with me over the years.

“The purpose of a pitch isn’t necessarily to move others immediately to adopt your idea. The purpose is to offer something so compelling that it begins a conversation, brings the other person in as a participant, and eventually arrives at an outcome that appeals to both of you.

What does this have to do with communications? A lot.

Whether you’re helping to develop client strategy, pitching a piece of new business, or leading a media relations campaign, the goal is always to somehow connect with and move an audience to adopt an underlying idea.

However, far too often we get caught up in the “what” when we should really be focusing on the “why.” In other words

  • Why is this an idea worth considering?
  • How will it benefit the individual on the other side of the conversation?
  • And most importantly…what’s in it for them?

As individuals who spend countless hours carefully crafting news releases, pitching media, and trying to convince clients, prospects, and media to buy into new ideas, this notion is absolutely key.

Too often our messaging completely disregards the needs and desires of the person at the other end of the conversation. By communicating more effectively and focusing on the “why” and not the “what” we can all learn to develop messaging that is clearer, more effective, and more persuasive.

Erick Bauer is national public relations manager – Canada at The NPD Group, Inc.  Follow him @ErickBauer

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