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Communication

88 SAVED IDEAS

Why selling ideas is hard

Generating creative ideas is easy. Selling them to strangers is hard. The ability to sell an idea has as much to do with the seller's traits as the idea's inherent quality.

Judgments about the pitcher's ability to come up with workable ideas can interfere with the perception of the idea's worth. That means that when you're preparing to pitch your idea to strangers, your audience will put you in a box. And in less than 150 milliseconds.

@alanaff557

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Communication

A study showed that people on the receiving end of pitches have no objective way to assess creativity - not even the expert ones.

  • Their criteria are subjective and often inaccurate, and from early on, they are set.
  • If they detect subtle cues indicating that the pitcher isn't creative, they won't look favorably at your proposal.
  • However, if they are made to feel that they are participating in an idea's development, they respond well.

Successful pitchers tend to be categorised by catchers as one of three types.

  • The showrunner comes off as a professional who combines creative inspiration with production know-how.
  • The artist appears to be unpolished and prefer the world of ideas to happen daily.
  • The neophyte seems young, inexperienced, and naive.

The showrunner involves the audience in the creative process by deliberately levelling the power differential, the artist inverts the differential, and the neophytes exploit it. They all get the catchers to view themselves as creative collaborators.

We believe that creative people possess certain traits. For example, unconventionality, intuitiveness, sensitivity, narcissism, passion, and youth. When a stranger pitches an idea, the catcher subconsciously uses these traits to sort through the pitchers as creative or not. Only 1% of ideas will make it past the initial pitch.

To avoid fast elimination, successful pitchers emit passion for their ideas and find ways to let the catchers shine.

Showrunners combine creative thinking and passion with technical know-how to convince catchers that the ideas can be developed successfully.

They engage the catcher by getting the catcher to respond to a memory they are both familiar with. Then they build on the catcher's knowledge and interest, eventually guiding the catcher to the core idea.

They display passion and enthusiasm about their ideas but are less conformist in their dress and mannerisms and tend to be socially awkward. The artist appears to have little or no knowledge or interest in the details of implementation.

They completely command the catcher's imagination by drawing the audience into imaginary worlds. "Picture what happens when..." They lead catchers through exciting, detailed narratives.

Neophytes plead ignorance. They score points for daring to do the impossible, which is seen as refreshing. They present themselves as eager learners and confidently ask for help.

Catchers are naturally flattered and enjoy sharing their knowledge. They become mentors who want to see the neophytes win. Entrepreneurs are generally natural neophytes. They achieve success by sheer force of personality.

There is nothing more dangerous than a good pitcher with no real talent. Catchers too often let themselves be wooed by positive stereotypes, especially that of the showrunner, rather than by the quality of the ideas.

Real creativity is more difficult to classify. Those who buy ideas need to be aware that relying too much on stereotypes can cause them to overlook creative individuals with great ideas.

  • In a meeting with a showrunner, the catcher can test the pitcher's expertise and question how the pitcher would react to various changes to the idea.
  • For artists and neophytes, their ability can be judged by asking them to deliver a finished product. In Holywood, competent catchers will ask them for finished scripts before hiring them. A prototype can allow the catcher to judge quality.
  • To safeguard against hasty judgements, enlist another judge or two to help weigh the pitcher and the idea.
The Art Of Giving
  • One needs to create value to claim value, and successful negotiators do not declare victory until they can help everyone win.
  • A win-win situation for all is the new age negotiation, which is more about giving and less about taking.
  • Most of us believe that the results are fixed, and we also expect the worst in others, which eventually brings out the worst in others.
  • Trying to understand the needs of our opponent and working from that angle results in better negotiation and better results for everyone involved.
Using clichés

Clichés are a quick way to express familiar concepts. Because your brain heard the phrase many times, it knows the meaning without thinking about the writer's intention.

But the danger is that one cliché makes the rest of the writing seem lazy or low-quality and cause you to skim through the words. Nothing stands out because there is no way to differentiate the time you read the cliché from all the other times you've read it.

With so much content on the internet, few get noticed. When you do get noticed, it's another accomplishment to have your words read. But you only really build a career as a writer when your audience remembers you.

Clichés seldom create memorable writing. One cliché won't ruin your writing but ensure you are using them sparingly and with intention.

For example:

Matt took the first sip, volunteering to be our guinea pig.

Matt took the first sip, volunteering to be our laboratory mouse.

In the first sentence, we don't visualise the guinea pig. It is only in the second sentence that we 'see' the scientist, the white coat, and the mouse. This is because we associate animal testing with rats and mice, not guinea pigs.

How we interpret gaze
  • We give gaze physical properties.
  • We create implicit mental programmes in which the visual attention of others is understood as a forceful beam emitted from the viewer’s eye and directed at the object of interest.
  • These mental programmes allow us to use cognitive shortcuts in order to process peoples’ visual attention quickly and efficiently.

It can synchronize activities and convey social dynamics without a gesture or spoken word.

It requires a quick interpretation and explanation of the meaning behind another person's gaze, but the trade-off for the speed of that interpretation is the mistaken understanding of gaze as something that can move things in our environment.

Extramission means “sending out,” and the extramission theory is the belief that vision is a force emitted from the eye. It is an intuitive understanding of vision common among children that persists among many adults.

In contrast, the modern visual theory is called “intromission,” and is based on the notion that vision results from light entering the eyes.

The power of gaze appears in stories and myths throughout the centuries.

  • Medusa turned people to stone with her gaze.
  • The catoblepas and the basilisk, both described by Pliny the Elder, could kill with the single glance.
  • In Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis, Venus complains of the pain caused by Adonis’ glance.
  • As a cultural reference, we can also mention the Jedi master or Superman.
  • It reveals where a person is focusing their attention, and, when directed at us, it can have a strong emotional effect.
  • Gaze can play a role in social organization, with a direct gaze demonstrating social dominance and gaze aversion indicating passivity.
  • Eye contact can elicit alertness and bodily awareness, while indifference or aversion to eye contact can signal emotional or neurological disorders.
  • When we direct our gaze at something or someone, others who notice subconsciously direct their gaze in the same manner. We can take advantage of this tendency to deliberately influence the gaze of others.

... or some version of that is one of the most fundamental and common questions asked in any first round of a Job Interview.

Hiring managers usually like to ask this question, because it allows them to assess your communication skills, hear your narrative about the highlights of your career, and lay the foundation for follow-up questions. 

The conventional expert opinion is to provide a crisp, 30 second to 1-minute answer to the question "Tell me about yourself", but one minute isn’t enough time to deliver a meaningful response that benefits you as a candidate.

Experts prefer a short answer, as it has less chance of leading the candidate to drift or ramble.

Benefits of a long answer
  • A longer answer to "Tell me about yourself" allows you to provide a useful narrative beyond the rĂ©sumĂ©.
  • It lets you reveal key motivations that drove your career path.
  • You can shape the interview in your direction.
  • It's an opportunity to stand out from the other candidates.

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