Fast Company recently published an article titled, “How to Prepare When You Only Get One Shot At Persuasion.” The article argues that when you have only one shot to present and persuade – as opposed to a block of time or several opportunities – you must prepare differently.
Every leader has faced, and will face situations in which he or she will have only “one shot” to make a successful presentation or pitch. The Fast Company article featured the following tips for preparing for the “one shot” pitch. According to the article, these tips work wonders… and they will work for you.
1. Be one-sided: Research shows a one-sided argument is more convincing than a balanced one. So don’t be an impartial professor who addresses pros and cons. Instead be passionately convinced of your point of view and just present that.
2. Leave something unsaid: Though you usually want to be explicit about the conclusions you want people to make, if you are going to speak to intelligent and discriminating audiences, it’s better to leave something for them to figure out.
3. Enter the “realm’ of story: This encourages others to “activate story-congruent memories from their own lives.” Whether these stories are fictional or factual, the effect is just as powerful.
4. Match your credibility to the extremity of your position: The further you are asking people to stretch from accepted points of view, the more important it is to establish yourself as a highly credible expert.
5. Consider ego involvement: Anyone you are seeking to persuade has come to the meeting with latitudes of acceptance: things they are willing to accept, things they are neutral on, and things they will reject. When people’s egos are involved, their latitude of acceptance narrows and their latitudes of neutrality and rejection widen.
6. Avoid fear: Research contradicts that people are more motivated by avoiding something bad than getting something good. Fear’s impact is “surprisingly small.” So don’t depend on it.
7. Identify which (of 5) types of audiences you will address: Will your audience be hostile and disagreeable, critical but conflicted, uninformed, sympathetic, or activated? Adjust your tone accordingly.
8. Choose your deep metaphor: Your word choice will activate a frame, a metaphor, that your audience imagines as they are considering your pitch. Choose a frame that works in your favor.
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The next time you have a “one shot” persuasion opportunity, review these tips. What do you have to lose? What do you have to gain?