Channel Your Inner American and WIN More Business!
Richard Newton award winning writer and me channelling !
“Go on Richard” I said.
“Now do it in an American Accent”!
The extremely talented British writer and author of The End of Nice, Richard Newton was shocked and enlightened when I encouraged him to ….
Channel his Inner American!
He’s had great feedback since and it inspired him so much he wrote this article for American Airlines magazine Business Life.
This blog comes from up up in sky, it's very funny,
Read more here…..
“Because I tried so hard to bury the memories the exact words are hard to remember now. It went pretty much like this.
“Urgh. Diabolical. Are you f**** kidding me?!”
There were a few weeks to go before the ten startups in our accelerator cohort had to stand on stage and pitch our respective businesses to a theatre of press and investors.
At this point, my co-founders and I were in front of a pitch coach who had flown to London from New York to add some polish to all the presentations. We weren’t 15 seconds in before hostilities had commenced.
“YOU’RE COMPETING WITH THIS!” he yelled, waving his smart phone at us. “TRY AGAIN”
It’s customary for such talks to begin with a short narrative. Ours began something like:
“In only 12 months since the…”
“STOP. WHAT AM I DOING? SEE? I’M LOOKING AT MY PHONE. MY PHONE IS MORE INTERESTING THAN YOU. START AGAIN.”
“In only 12 month…”
“PHONE. BORING. Try again”
“PHONE. BORED BORED BORED.”
We pretty much ploughed our own furrow after that. The demo day went ok and the press even liked it. So I’d figured that the underlying problem was that the pitch coach was crazy and then forgot about it.
Recently, however, I had an experience that made me view the whole episode differently. Armed with this new information I see that the real problem was that the pitch coach was American. Actually, let me be more specific: The real problem was that we weren’t American.
This became apparent when I spent a session with a public speaking coach. After incremental progress during the day Esther Stanhope, ex-BBC, very British and not at all from across the Atlantic, pulled out her secret coaching weapon: “Now do the whole thing again but do it in an American accent.”
All of a sudden my voice hit new decibel levels and the windows shook. At the same time the equivocation, conditional statements and uncertainties disappeared from my extemporising.
“It happens all the time “, said Esther. “Although you do seem to be an extreme case… People suddenly start talking in a new language where everything is global, prospects are golden, fortunes are giant, success is guaranteed and doubt has vanished from the world.”
This reflects my experience of working with lots of European and US startups. The American startups need only be in possession of half an idea to find themselves drenched in Barack Obama levels of oratorical confidence. The rest of us hesitate as we anticipate the holes in our arguments.
This may seem trivial but the phenomenon that simply by speaking American you suddenly become louder, more confident and persuasive merits some thought. It may have more bearing on startup success than at first seems likely.
Take this example of a US startup which had successfully resolved a fundraising deadlock to get their business up and running. Incidentally this story was told to us the same week as we collided with the Phone Botherer.
Each time founders presented their deck the investors probed the numbers as you’d expect. They duly updated their presentation deck with more detailed forecasts, ratios and market analysis in order to be better prepared. The next set of investors dove into these new details and asked for yet more details and the set drilled down further …and asked for yet more. The pattern continued. Data begat data. But it didn’t beget investment.
So the company changed tack. They took out all the numbers. The new presentation deck was exclusively about the promise and the vision. The investors were sold on this pitch and shortly afterwards the company raised the money it needed.
“We realised”, they explained “That the strengths of investors is their left brain analysis of numbers. This is what they do all day long. They are better at it than we are so they kept asking questions that we couldn’t answer.”
“When we switched exclusively to vision we were speaking to the right brain. Here we could explain the world as we saw it and our opportunity within it.”
The important thing was this story reminded us that we founders owned the dream and that even the smartest, most cold-blooded investors are swayed by vision, confidence, determination, persuasiveness and all those qualities which are touchy-feely, hard to measure and become apparent in the first few seconds of opening your mouth.
And this is why it might be reasonable for an American start-up pitch coach to recoil in horror as a non-American merely begins to open their mouth. They know that it’s the dream and the conviction that raises the money. The constrained body language, the hesitant tone and mumbled words may not command the right brain of investors or buyers no matter how persuasive the numbers speak to the left brain.
THE END OF NICE
How to be human in a world run by robots
Thank you Richard!
If you want more oomph and energy in your pitch Contact Me now and transform your skills overnight, just like Richard!