The date was 27th July 2019. It was a bright Saturday morning at Marina One East Tower. Fred Then came down to conduct a pitching workshop for our secondary school participants.
Extraordinary artists paint ideas in new, revolutionary perspectives. In the first minute of the workshop, Fred revolutionized everything our students knew about presentations – what they learnt in school would not work in the world of entrepreneurship. Our participants looked visibly mind-blown and daunted at the challenge. He revealed that you must employ a whole new set of skills to convince sceptics that they absolutely NEED your product.
Not many people know this, but Fred Then is an artist. On his LinkedIn profile, he writes that he is an entrepreneur, educator, mentor, business coach, neuromarketer, author and programme designer. But to us, not only is he all that he says he is, he is a premier artist above all in his field. After all, it takes a special person to accomplish what Fred has in the past 20 years.
Why do we believe that Fred is a champion artist in his field?
So, what did our participants learn?
Number One: Facts don’t convince, emotions do.
Fred taught about the subconscious mind and how our decisions begin in that unseen region before our conscious mind even activates. Therefore, we must use the secret language of the subconscious to persuade someone successfully. Our participants learnt that to convince is not about narrating facts or numbers, but to evoke an emotional connection from your listeners. Simply take a look at the powerful advertisements of large, successful corporations – how often do they actually talk about the features of their products or services?
Number Two: Sell a story, not a business plan.
Since we were children, stories were the primary way we learnt about the world around us. People inherently prefer stories. I mean, would you prefer listening to a dreary, continual list of technical jargon or an account of a boy who emerged from an underprivileged life of struggling into an inspirational figure of perseverance and success? Using human psychology, Fred revealed how storytelling was extremely effective in convincing a critic to begin desiring your product.
Number Three: Focus on the pain.
Pain is uncomfortable. Pain is distracting. Pain requires immediate attention. When pitching, focus on painting a picture of pain and evoking a sense of sympathy. It is when we believe that there is a desperate need for a way out of our current reality that people will see immense value in your solution.
These three learning points are just a glimpse of what our participants learnt from the established business coach. In addition to teaching, Fred included a segment where all participants practised using body language to portray an image of sincerity and confidence – another key aspect in the art of persuasion.
Following the pitching workshop, our participants broke off into their teams to consult their industry mentors on what they had worked on so far and on how to see their business from new angles. We were delighted to see how the teams were reinvigorated from the direct mentorship.
After the day’s programme, our teams were left with an exciting reminder that in just 4 weeks, they would be pitching to an intimidating panel of judges-cum-investors. We wish them all the best!