Don’t assume your investors think like you do.
We all pitch ideas to others. Sometimes the stakes are low but some pitch outcomes REALLY matter. That’s the ones we’ll talk about.
I’ll get right to it. Your secret weapon is pitching your idea in a way that caters to people’s different thinking styles.
You’ve probably heard of or taken a variety of professional assessments such as DiSC®, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and Strengths Finder. But are you familiar with the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI)?
HBDI is an assessment of your thinking style. The premise is that each one of us has a dominant thinking style. So how is this going to help you pitch your idea successfully? By leveraging Whole Brain® Thinking!
First of all, I have no affiliation with or compensation from Herrmann International whatsoever.
What I am sharing with you is information I’ve gathered from taking the assessment twice over the course of a few years with a previous employer and lessons I learned using the Whole Brain® Thinking model and sharing it with others.
The 4 Thinking Styles
There are 4 thinking style quadrants in the model. Most people have a dominant quadrant representing your thinking style preference.
- A Quadrant: Logical, analytical, quantitative, fact-based thinking.
- B Quadrant: Planning, organizing, and sequencing information.
- C Quadrant: Interpersonal, emotional, and kinesthetic.
- D Quadrant: Synthesizing and integrating information, more intuitive and holistic thinking.
There are no “ideal” profiles and no right or wrong thinking styles. Interestingly, the HBDI assessment also provides your stress thinking profile, in other words, how your thinking style preference may shift under pressure. For example, my personal thinking style shifts to a higher D under pressure which rang true because I tend to step back and look at the big picture under pressure.
In biotech and medtech, many of us have a dominant A quadrant, and you see this profile with lots of engineers and scientists. Counselors and elementary school teachers are often strong in the C quadrant, artists and entrepreneurs in D, and operations managers and bookkeepers in B. If you’d like to dive into the details of the thinking styles, check out The Theory Behind the HBDI® and Whole Brain® Technology.
How to “Walk the Quadrants” for a Successful Pitch
Here is how you put all this information to good use. First, it would be helpful to know your dominant thinking style(s) because that’s probably how you communicate information to others. If you’re a quadrant A analytical thinker, you probably shower people with data and details. If you’re a B, process-oriented person, you communicate the order things need to happen in and the process that will be used. And so on.
Since you are not going to know the thinking style of the person or people you will be pitching to, to make your pitch successful, walk all 4 quadrants in your presentation.
Think about each thinking style and make sure you are including information in your pitch that’s going to appeal and meet the needs of each of the quadrants. And guess what? If you do that, you will not only meet your audience’s needs but you will -not by accident- deliver a much more comprehensive and well thought out pitch!
So what might the pitch look like?
I typically start with quadrant C. Grab people with emotion. How is your idea going to affect people? What kind of problem are you trying to solve?
Then move to quadrant D. What’s the big picture? What’s the vision and what kind of impact will your idea have?
Now it’s time for quadrant A. Provide all the details, the data, and the background information you have. Dive into the specifics and show that you’ve done your homework.
At this point, people will be ready for the action plan. Lay out the steps that you plan on taking to reach your goal and describe the process.
To close, you may want to go back to C or D depending on your audience. Remind people why your idea is important and the impact it will have.
It’s surprisingly simple, isn’t it? But we’ve all failed at one point or another to meet the needs of a thinking style quadrant and paid a hefty price.
It helps to acknowledge the cognitive diversity we’re immersed in, our own thinking style preferences, and taking the time to craft compelling proposals that deliver the information our audience looks for. Happy pitching!