Garnering support for a new business idea is as much about the art of the pitch as it is the science of the throw. As with any presentation, content may be king, but delivery is queen, and without the two mutually supporting each other, your business kingdom will lack support — or strikeout completely.
Building a relationship of any kind takes time whether it’s with investors, vendors, new business partners or customers. Unfortunately, not everyone will be onboard with what you’re pitching, and identifying why they oppose your idea will reveal how you can strengthen your position.
Let’s assume you’ve mastered the art of the pitch by choosing the right words, comporting yourself confidently and not giving them any reasons not to like you (i.e bad breath — something my dad always referred to as moose mouth). You’ve nailed down the science that supports your idea — at least, as you see it — but still find resistance to accepting it and want to know why. So how do you identify the part of your idea that isn’t landing the way it should?
There are multiple reasons for why your idea isn’t being received the way you want it. If it’s a lack of commitment from the recipient’s side, then it could be indifference, indecision, or politicking.
However, if he or she genuinely opposes your idea, then that’s another story. Here are five factors to consider if that’s the case.
1. They fear incompetence.
If your idea is one level below brilliant, then the fear of not measuring up can supersede the motivation to excel. Simply put, nobody wants to be seen as incompetent, so if your idea offers that potential, then it’s natural for someone to oppose it until they fully understand.
2. They fear perception.
I can’t stand the phrase “perception is reality,” but it’s true. Without information (i.e. reality), we are limited in having a complete understanding and fall prey to the cognitive biases that plague decision-making.
3. They feel threatened.
This is a big one, and covers a whole slew of categories and rationale that will far exceed the 700-word maximum for this article. When somebody feels threatened by your idea, it’s not exactly in a physical sense — although quite possible if you’re breathing fire — but spiritual or emotional. If your idea threatens his or her values or belief system, then chances are, the first reaction you’ll receive is push-back.
Another reason may be a threat to power. Power is a huge motivator for some, so if your idea would deprive them of his or her ability to influence, then you may want to find another way to frame your idea. One method is to follow Aristotle’s modes of persuasion, which include logic, ethic and emotion (or logos, ethos and pathos for you Latin-inclined speakers).
4. They worry about their network.
One hidden reason your idea receives opposition is because the person fears it will negatively impact his or her network. Nobody likes being the bad guy (or girl), so if there’s potential for him or her to be ill-received, consider re-framing. Ideally, you want to share an idea that benefits them just as you would if you were to sell a product or service.
5. They just don’t like it.
Sorry to say, but not all ideas are created equally, and some people just don’t see the same light. This is when everything comes to a stop, and you reflect on why you’re not gainfully employed, and how much easier it would be if you were. That’s a joke.
Whatever idea you have that’s worth spreading (thank you TED), you can maximize its reach by considering the above five factors.