Leadership involves influence (though it also requires much more). Whether you’re motivating followers, promoting a new innovation, or gaining buy-in on a new strategy, your path as a leader or aspiring leader will involve having to gain commitment from a variety of stakeholders. In short, leaders often have to sell and sell well.
If you’re looking for help pitching your ideas, my friend Daniel Pink’s new book To Sell is Human has some great resources for you. Inside, Dan outlines six proven ways to quickly and easily pique others interest and draw them in to hear more:
- The One-word Pitch. Strip the idea down to one easy to understand word that captures the essence of your pitch. Think MasterCard’s “Priceless” or how people don’t search the Internet anymore, they “Google” it.
- The Question Pitch. Asking questions draws others in and nudges them to craft their own answers. Soon they sell themselves on your ideas. Consider Ronald Reagan’s famous campaign pitch: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”
- The Rhyming Pitch. A surprising amount of research implies that we are more likely to remember and believe ideas that rhyme. Think of how unlikely you are to forget “a stitch in time saves nine” or “right tighy, lefty loosey.”
- The Subject-Line Pitch. Every email we send has its own pitch, we call it the subject line. Subject Line pitches should be specific and useful, but also create curiosity. Perhaps “Six Proven Ways to Pitch Your Idea” or something similar would make for a compelling subject line.
- The Twitter Pitch. You may not be able to distill your idea to one word, but can you summarize it in 140 characters or left. For added power, distill a question, rhyming or subject-line pitch down to 140 characters.
- The Pixar Pitch. Every Pixar film has a compelling story and every story follows the same formula: “Once upon a time _____. Every day, _____. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.”
If you want to lead your people, innovation or strategy forward, you’ll need to get buy in from a variety of folks. These six strategies should give you the variety you need to win them over. If you want to explore the evidence behind influence further, check out To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Innovation.