The Psychology behind Pitching to Dragons

The Psychology behind Pitching to Dragons

This week the BBC aired an insider’s guide to successful pitching on Dragon’s Den. They came up with a six point plan for success. Here’s the psychology behind each of the points;

  1. Create an impression. It has been shown that we make a judgement within 30 seconds of meeting someone for the first time. So we have to get it right. We need to grab their attention, and our dress, poise, and confidence rather than gimmicks are needed to create the right impression.
  2. Practice makes Perfect. There is no substitute for practice, and the more you can simulate the environment you will present in the better prepared you will be.  Practice prepares the subconscious mind for what to do, as well as the conscious. This is crucial for “programming success”, a crucial NLP technique.
  3. Keep your nerve. When teaching presentation skills, I always emphasise that the audience will not know you have made a mistake unless you let on. If things don’t go as planned, so long as you are prepared (see point 2), you can adapt what is going on into your presentation.
  4. Don’t offend your audience. Obvious really, but it is easy to react to a challenge from the audience. Remember the first rule of good customer service – the customer is always right (even when they are wrong)! Acknowledge what the audience has said, but don’t disagree. After all they have a right to their point of view even if you don’t agree with it. Lose the battle, win the war.
  5. Be Passionate. Remember Mehrabian. People look to our body language and tone of voice to determine whether to believe us or not. It may not come naturally to us, but if we can’t get passionate about our message, product or service, why should our audience?
  6. Be honest and credible. See point 5 regarding body language, but this is also about not making claims you can’t back up. It also takes us back to point 2 – practice. Good preparation means anticipating what your audience will want to know and how to give it to them.

So, there it is! All you have to do to be successful with your pitch. On the programme Kirsty Henshaw was identified as having give na master class pitch.

This first clip (about 3 minutes in) shows Kirsty’s pitch.

The next clip shows how Kirsty used the Q&A to get  positive outcome

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How referee body language affects the perception of performance

How referee body language affects the perception of performance.

I recently watched the new documentary “The Referees” which follows a number of FIFA referees through the Euro 2008 finals. The film is a great record of the stresses and pressures put on the top officials in the modern game at the highest level. It also reveals some mighty large egos!

As a referee at a local level, I can identify with the challenges of getting it right in every game. The film gives some insights into what is in the minds of the officials at key moments in games as we can here their miked up conversations. Yet the top officials keep their doubts (for the most part) hidden. How do they do this? Through confident non-verbal communication.

In the Empire Magazine review of the film, the reviewer says the defining shot in the movie is “an Italian linesman practising his flag-waving in front of a dressing room mirror. Absolutely priceless.” The reviewer has got it completely wrong. The assistant referee is actually checking that his flag technique is clear, unambiguous and, most importantly, delivered with confidence. Every decision that assistant gives is going to be scrutinised. He has to convey that he is absolutely sure of the decision (even if some of the conversation we hear suggests he is not).

Check out this clip of research into what footballers want from a referee;

 

The research confirms that players want the referee to be;

  • competent
  • dependable
  • respectful

Notice how players decide on this based on a number of verbal and non-verbal (mostly visual) clues. This is consistent with the work of Albert Mehrabian, who showed that body language and tone of voice are the most important factors in someone hearing the right message and,crucially, believing, it.

So, how do we do this? Here are a few tips to help;

  1. Make strong eye contact when you are speaking to a player.
  2. Once you have made a decision, be quick and clear with your flag or hand signals.
  3. Talk to players as you expect them to talk to you – be firm but respectful. Never swear. Use your tone of voice to convey authority, not arrogance.
  4. Where you can, give players clarification on your decisions, but state this as fact from your point of view. Don’t allow your doubts to surface. Then move on, whatever you have decided it has gone.

Follow these few rules and we can all be perceived as more competent, dependable and respectful referees. Whether we are or not depends upon accurately knowing and applying the Laws of the game.

How Company Culture Evolves – “The 5 Monkeys”

With thanks to CasaZaza.

The attached video beautifully explains the story of  “The 5 Monkeys”. This is a metaphor for how cultures evolve, and more importantly why they are difficult to change. It is not only about politics, it is about culture.

As you watch the video, reflect on the environment that you work in, play in or live in.

 Are you a victim of 5 Monkey Syndrome? Or maybe a perpetrator?

Can you become a Change Agent and undo 5 Monkey Syndrome?