Written by Higson

How to create novelty when you pitch

8th April, 2021   •   3 min

When pitching, what we ultimately want is to build a relationship with the other party. So how do we do this? An essential part is presenting in a compelling way, and using novelty to create a lasting impression. Research shows on average we only retain 5% of information given in lecture form, 10% through reading and 20% through audio and visuals. When presenting, that means people do not remember much of what they see or hear.

So how can we create a lasting impression under these circumstances?

In Oren Klaff’s book Pitch anything, he found that when pitching you must create two emotions in the client: desire and urgency. Desire is created when you offer a reward. Urgency is created when that reward can be taken away.

One way of creating desire and urgency is through novelty. Novelty is something we have not seen, heard or felt before that triggers our brain in high alert mode. This will increase our concentration and memory capacity.

Seeing something new makes us want it more and worries us if we can’t have it. If we incorporate novelty into our pitches the client will pay more attention and remember more.

How can we trigger desire and urgency?

Desire and urgency are triggered by two different chemicals. Understanding how these chemicals work can help us understand the ways we can create novelty when we pitch. Desire is the feeling made by dopamine and urgency by norepinephrine.

Dopamine makes us feel good and helps us focus, makes us more alert and motivated. This creates a positive feedback loops and keeps us motivated. Another side effect of dopamine is that it leads to improved memory, which is helpful considering how little information we normally retain.

Norepinephrine is a stress response which triggers our brain to pay more attention to our surroundings. Because of the increase in blood flow and elevated heart rate we are better at concentrating and more alert to new incoming information.

So, with this in mind, how can we create novelty?

1. Create visual stimuli

  • Share ideas in visual form, to create an exciting and memorable image
  • Use visuals or movement. Now that lots of people are working from home we need to adapt to the remote working space. Using technology can work in our favour. Some ideas: use objects to show off your idea such as prototypes. In a virtual environment we can also send prototypes
  • Share a tailored video or demo of your product or services
  • Use bright or moving objects on your slides e.g. have a ball bounce on the slide

2. Get the individuals you are pitching to involved

  • Use social media to get people involved, for instance you can share an instagram or snapchat story in the room explaining an idea or service
  • Get people to move around and take part in an activity, in person we can get people to look at objects or participate in a behind the scenes video
  • Send the people in the room an email to open there and then with a shock-factor statistic or interesting fact
  • Incorporate polls and breakout rooms into your presentation. Zoom and Teams have breakout rooms and on Zoom you can create polls e.g. ask a question and get the group to submit their answer into a poll

3. Focus on the words you use

  • Use metaphors to explain complex subjects or situations so that people can relate and understand your new idea better
  • Focus on them first and use their own words, show that you know what their goals are and understand them. Using our clients’ own words to describe your solution is rarely done and is such a powerful way to grab their attention

4. Share a story

  • Share a story – as David JP Phillips outlines in this brilliant video, stories tap into our emotions and hormones which will make them more memorable
  • Share half of a story and finish it later on in your pitch (this creates dopamine due to the anticipation and then the reward when we hear the end of the story)
  • Share a before and after client story to show off the impact you have had on others

Consider this list and incorporate some novelty next time you are creating a pitch to make a memorable and exciting impression. We would love to hear from you if you found these suggestions helpful or if you would like to explore how to include these ideas into your pitch.