Leveling up the gaming industry…

YetiZen CEO teaches “How to avoid the nude beach pitch”

July 4, 2012

2 weeks ago I wrote about the 5 philosophies that are the fundamental building blocks of all game startups. One of those philosophies was to avoid the nude beach of pitching.

To recap a nude beach pitch is one overflowing with information without adequately establishing context or relevance for the audience[1]. In the last year and a half I have tested and iterated on various frameworks to solve this problem. What has worked best is teaching entrepreneurs three fundamental neuroscience findings. These give entrepreneurs the chance to hit the ground running as well as develop a vocabulary for the items within their pitches that we iterate on together every week for the 3 month acceleration period.

They are:

  1. creating messaging for lower and higher brain
  2. utilizing the brain’s propensity for nexting
  3. recognizing the limitations of short term memory

Creating messaging for lower and higher brain

Broadly speaking the human brain is made up of three separate parts that evolved at different times in history. The first is the reptilian brain. When faced with a new piece of information such as your pitch it decides if it should 1) fight/flight 2) mate 3) or ignore.

The second part and third parts of the brain are the limbic system and the neocortex. These are responsible for memory formation (limbic) as well as planning, reasoning and other higher functions (neocortex). When most of us plan our pitches we are doing so primarily through our neocortex. We make the mistake of assuming that the listener is also listening with their neocortex. BIG MISTAKE!

No new information gets to the neocortex without passing through the reptilian brain and limbic systems first. Our modern social context prevents the obvious version of reptilian brain responses, after all your pitch is not the same as the sound of an approaching predator so it is unlikely that your investors will get up and pick a physical fight if you inadvertently activated their fight response.

What is likely is that you will be faced with disruptive behaviors, objections and lack of interest—often despite the fact that you may have dealt with some of the objections in your pitch or (my personal favorite) their questions show a complete misunderstanding of your product or business.

To prevent the investors’ reptilian minds from hijacking the movement of your wonderful pitch message to the limbic system and neocortex you must make sure your initial pitch[2] is:

  1. big picture and clear—abstractions, details confuse the reptilian brain and tend to ignite the fear response that understanding will take significant mental resources that the reptilian brain likes to avoid
  2. novel—but not too novel (you will understand this more in the nexting section coming up). If the information the reptilian brain is hearing is not new it will ignore it. Before it passes information to the limbic system it must view the information as both positive and novel.

A well-done pitch is able to balance the above needs in interesting and creative ways while managing the implications of two other principles of how the brain works—nexting and limited short-term memory.

Continuing ->

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