Instantly Gratify

Day 229 Week 33 Q3 Friday, August 18, 2023

Assume you have a breakthrough idea, product or insight. I am sure you have many. How do you get it across? Although the phrase and concept of an elevator pitch are somewhat overused, there is wisdom embedded in the idea. You always have to get permission to communicate. Yes, you may occasionally be able to squeeze off an uninvited sentence. but for the most part, unless the person you are speaking to expresses some interest in hearing what you have to say, they will either tune you out or walk away when you try to say too much.

I suppose if you are famous, rich or beautiful, you might get a larger window of people’s attention because they can then drop your name when telling others. But it does not mean they will understand what you said unless you can succinctly say it. Now there is a problem here. Complex ideas may not be expressible succinctly. This requires expression communication management. 

Say something that is engaging enough for someone to invite you to elaborate. In other words, give them some instant gratification for listening to you. 

In order to do this, you would probably benefit from understanding a little bit about who they are. And the longer and more complex your message, the more you need to know about them to keep their attention by communicating in a relevant manner. Small talk requires little knowledge, but big talk requires much knowledge. 

Instant gratification when we are talking about big talk, not small talk, is pretty difficult. This is why we humans have invented demos, or if you are still in kindergarten Show and Tell. And why people who are running for office and win have easy-to-understand slogans. These are all invitations to listen to more.

Unless you invite someone to listen and they indicate you should continue, you can not presume they are positively disposed to listen to you for more than a sentence or two. Therefore it is worth giving them the space to indicate this. It can become tedious if you are locked into transmit mode and not listening at all.

Since instant gratification is a great way to engage someone, you might want to know enough about them to determine what might instantly gratify them. Say you are talking to a potential investor, customer or any stakeholder, which are different versions of the same thing. You do need to determine something of what they care about.  If they are interested in consumer electronics and you are trying to tell them about pottery, they may not care. You may not want to tell them about entrepreneurial opportunities if they are extremely conservative and never take risks. 

Unfortunately, being an ideator, change agent or any kind of innovator forces you to some degree to appear to be a narcissist because you are more concerned about your point of view than theirs as it is, a new one and close to you.

Be careful not to appear to be too self-centered. Confidence is appealing but discounting others is not.