It’s Not Me, It’s You

“It’s not my responsibility to listen, it’s your responsibility to make me hear.” And with those words Shark Robert Hejavec hit home hard to a couple of guys with a dream, and to me. Ouch!

Never forget to speak to your audience. Watching a past US Shark Tank season on Netflix, I was interested in this guy who was over the top, even for an American (insert smiley face – no offence US friends). At first I thought it funny but it very soon became infuriating as he didn’t take a breath, didn’t shut up and talked over the top of the Sharks. My immediate reaction was that if I was a Shark I would never work with him for that reason alone, but that’s why I’m not a Shark. They take emotion out and look at the facts. Is it scaleable? Can it make money?

They took him.

Then came two boys all nice and sweet and slick in their James Bond lookalike suits. But it was as if the Sharks smelled the fear and started toying with their prey, giving them a grilling.

Let’s face it – this is all good TV and who knows, the producers probably plan to do this every few pitches. I felt sorry for them though, unlike brassy ballsy Odang Hummus, these guys were shouted down, and didn’t have the chance to answer questions or the bad manners to yell back.

Their Banana approach didn’t work. The Sharks said no.

Oh what a reminder to know your purpose, know your audience. In this case, it’s a pitch. A tough, public, brutal pitch.

In a limited time, a pitch to very Apple investors should be lightning fast, and say –

What it is you do What it is you want Why they should buy Back it up

These guys didn’t even ask for money in their initial pitch – they were building up to it. And there are some instances where you would build your case (like wanting to go your family for Christmas) – but investment pitching is not one of them.

Whatever your pitch, whatever your audience, understand them and how they want to hear you.

It’s not my responsibility to listen. It is your responsibility to make me hear.

Lynne Schinella is a conference speaker, speaker coach, and author of Bite Me! and other do’s and don’ts of dealing with our differences.

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And if you’re ready to take on the world, check out her speaker retreats for executive women here.

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