Remember „Chinese Whisper“ or „Telephone“ from your childhood? They might have more to do with your next Pitch than you think.
The game is always the same.
A group stands in line, and the first person comes up with a message. They whisper it into the ear of the second person. The second player repeats the sentence to the third person and so on.
The result and fun are also the same:
The message that comes out at the end is always very different from the message delivered at the start.
A pig turned into a wig, and a frog, all of a sudden, became a dog.
You play Telephone all the time
The days of playing Telephone are long gone, but what if I told you that you still play it almost every day.
Every time you share a pitch, a story, or an idea with someone, it doesn’t stop there. They’ll most likely share it with someone else. And they’ll tell it a third person and so on.
The only difference:
In business, when the wrong message reaches the final decision maker, it might not be a fun moment in a game. It might be the end of your project.
Every Pitch is a New Round of Telephone
Barely we are lucky that the person we meet at an event is the final decision-maker. The customer we present our product to or the audience member we have in front of us are usually someone else.
Instead, the complete opposite is the case:
Your most crucial pitches happen without you in the room!
When they have met you, they’ll afterward tell their boss about your idea and why it makes sense. In that crucial moment, you are not present to defend or support yourself.
That is the real meeting that matters. At this moment, the final choice is made whether your project will continue or stop before it even began.
You can’t follow the people into their office to solve that problem. But you can keep some tips in mind to play the next round of Telephone in your favor.
How to Win at Business Telephone
In every Pitch, in every introduction and in every product presentation, you should consider those rules. They make sure that your message makes it through the line:
- Use simple language and avoid any industry jargon. The more complex your lines and words are, the less likely it is that they’ll survive the game without change.
- Share your message through stories instead of just a list of facts. We remember stories much better, and a list of events is always easier to repeat than some random buzzwords.
- Test your message early on with people who don’t know you and your project well. Strangers will be in your audience, so you might as well start working with them right away.
All it takes is some practice and extra effort to get it right. No one is obligated to understand you right, but at least you can make sure to say the right things.
Become a Professional Player
Now that you are aware of the problem, the chance is high that you’ll be able to solve it for your next game.
If you ever feel that you need some extra help to turn your idea into a memorable story, consider a Pitch Training or a coach in your area.
The wrong message delivered is just as bad as nothing said in the end.
Make sure that your message is delivered right.
Go and win your next round of telephone!