How To Pitch Anything To Anyone With Oren Klaff


The Importance of Winter Coming

You’ve heard me say it before. Having an innovative idea is only half the battle. The other half is getting buy-in for your ideas. Many brilliant innovations come to a dead stop at the presentation phase. It got me thinking, “What are we doing so wrong?” So I asked Oren Klaff, author of Pitch Anything and Director of Capital Markets at investment bank Intersection Capital, onto Inside LaunchStreet. His book breaks down how he gets people to sign over multi-millions of dollars on his idea pitches. We have a fast-paced conversation where he breaks down the difference between our presentations and the lizard brain, why “winter is coming” is the start of every presentation (i.e. get ready for a change), how to show excitement without desperation so you can craft an irresistible presentation or pitch to anyone.

I know this borders on sales, but I’ll tell you right now, innovators — if you want to get traction on your innovative ideas, you’d better learn how to sell them in a way that makes people listen. Here goes.


Listen now to this episode on Inside LaunchStreet:

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Key Takeaways:

[2:51] You might be surprised that Oren has written 255 institutional pitches for money. He has written every single one of them with pen and paper.

[4:06] What is magical about the pen and paper process? Learn why Oren begins his presentations talking about The Games of Thrones and focuses on “winter is coming.” If you aren’t prepared for the change, you are going to be left behind, you are going to get wiped out.

[6:20] Ninety percent of the human mind is dedicated to detecting change. The brain is trained to do three things: detect patterns, focus on anything in the environment that’s changing, and detect deception. Oren reveals the elements that are necessary for a successful pitch.

[9:30] Get introduced into the term, lizard brain. Oren’s book, Pitch Anything teaches how the mind is different than the brain. Listen in to find out how the brain processes information.

[14:12] Oren suggests that Tamara tattoo the words, cognitive load, on her arm. Why are these two words so important? The neocortex uses up more than 20 percent of your energy. MInimize the amount of work their neocortex has to do. It’s your challenge, not their problem.

[17:08] Oren and Tamara discuss ways to limit the cognitive load.

[21:57] Learn about different kinds of frames and how to break them. Frames are a way of looking at the situation. What do you do when your listener exerts power over you?

[23:52] Oren and Tamara discuss ways to break through the power frame when the decision maker, Bob, didn’t show up for the presentation. Oren teaches how to change the dynamic from being controlled to controlling the situation.

[30:30] It’s scary at first to break through that power frame. When someone has power over you, three things happen: First, their focus becomes extremely narrow. It’s hard for them to appreciate the scope of what you’re talking about. Second, they have risk-taking behaviors. Third, they only see you at a very surface area. You have to break the power frame.

[34:31] When does the power frame show up? In the beginning, you must shift the power, take the risk.

[39:24] Why is it necessary to eradicate neediness? Neediness triggers something very uncomfortable in human beings. In primitive times, if you needed something, you were something to be avoided. Anytime you exhibit needy behaviors, it makes someone pull away from you.

[42:19] What’s the difference between showing interest and neediness?

[44:17] Listen in as Oren teaches how to deliver the prize frame and avoid the asshole effect. Tamara reminds listeners that doing this keeps you from taking on the bad clients that suck the life out of you.

[51:33] Oren’s upcoming book, The User’s Guide to Power, looks more deeply at the dominance hierarchy. It discusses where we fit in the people around us. Why do you frame your idea as the plain vanilla?

[53:36] Oren’s advice to listeners is to have the ability to talk about an idea for two to three minutes. Don’t say anything about you or your company. Just talk about the idea.

[55:14] Tamara asks listeners to leave her a message on Inside LaunchStreet about how you are going to pitch your product.