As creatives, there’s a feeling of disconnect between our minds (thoughts, ideas) and their acceptance. How can people not see how good our ideas are? And this is the ultimate challenge, because success is so dependent on our ideas and the usage of those ideas.
These four points are super interesting in of themselves, but the third one caught my attention.
"Objective evidence shoring up the validity of a creative proposal does not motivate people to accept it."
This means that even if you can prove that your idea is valid, it doesn’t help people accept it. It makes sense because in meetings, we can be so tied to proving our ideas, especially if we have the evidence to prove that our idea works... yet that doesn’t help us sell the idea. Our objective isn’t to prove validity, our objective is to sell the idea. It might not be a focus on the facts, it might be to describe the results, or to focus on the emotional. It might be to establish more likability and rapport.
So when we notice disinterest from the person who’s listening to our pitch, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves if we’re too caught up in proving ourselves — let go of your need to have to prove something, and move towards finding what will actually affect the buyer’s psychology.
A year and a half ago I was invited to sit at a workshop and be a guest expert at a conference. The event was Hardware Con, and because I had just been invited briefly before, and have never been a “guest expert”, I had no idea what to expect. So, because I had no idea what to expect, I didn’t think much of it until I got there. While sitting in the room 5 minutes before our workshop session started a small feeling of anxiety began to creep into me.
Thoughts popped up like: What kind of answers would I give that would even be helpful to these guys? Am I gonna tell them what camera to buy or what the difference between a grip and a gaffer? Would it benefit them for me to give feedback on the videos they’ve made?
Nothing out of the ordinary happened. They didn’t ask me questions that we’re related purely to the technical aspects of video production as I had initially worried about, but instead asked me to give feedback on some video ideas or to give feedback on their video strategy. This is all good and logical enough, but for some reason I felt like the advice I could in this domain wasn’t enough and wanted to give higher level advice, so I asked them about their overall marketing and what their funnel looked like. This was 2014, mind you, and internet marketing was still somewhat an obscure thing to learn, and because I was so interested in it at the time (still am) I felt like there was a lot I could give input on.
As so, when I transitioned the conversation to talking about internet marketing, things started to go south. People started getting uninterested and confused. One person even felt provoked by his skepticism and and asked, “Wait, what expert are you a field of again?"
As absurd as it sounds when we stop to think about it, our steady state seems to be one of assuming that we are very close to omniscient. - Kathryn Schulz
Several years ago I happened on Kathryn Schulz's delightful TED talk about being, well... wrong. I was immediately struck by the importance of her ideas for anyone who cared deeply about the truth. (For those of you who, like me, love books more than videos, I can also recommend the book she is discussing in the TED talk, pictured above.)