The Power Dynamics of the Pitch


“Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.”

—Saul Alinsky, Author of Rules for Radicals

The power dynamics of a pitch is one of the most important determinants of success yet is rarely discussed or acknowledged. In life, all parties to all relationships have some power. The relative strengths, equal or unequal, stable or unstable, are continually subject to change.

In a pitch scenario, the dynamics are typically stacked in favor of the party the entrepreneur is pitching. The entrepreneur believes that he or she needs the funding or contract more than the investor or potential client needs him or her. As a consequence, the entrepreneur will often feel and communicate neediness, or worse, desperation.

This inequality of power is compounded by the fact that the investor or executive, typically Alpha, feels more powerful. Alpha has status within the organization and financial security and is usually judging the pitch on his or her home territory. Once this dynamic is established and allowed to continue, the entrepreneur's pitch is likely to fail or, at best, secure unfavorable terms. The good news is that you can take steps to increase your perceived and actual power.

Establish Favorable Dynamics at the Outset

On the ...

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