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I was recently part of a group speaking to a high level political figure. All of us have a background in business and have negotiated deals and pitched ideas many, many times. Our group met in advance and discussed our plan on who would need to say what, who would lead and who would wrap up.
We had our meeting and I was truly struck how well we did. Each of us said fewer words than we normally do. We stuck to our plan and came across as organized and thoughtful.
The key was how well the political figure got what we were pitching. He had not met any of us save one. He was not familiar with the concept beyond a brief high level understanding. Given all that, we were able to gain his support in about 15 minutes.
This did not happen because of our charm or good looks (see my picture!). It happened because we did not overload him with information. We focused on the few key points we felt he cared about and worked to gain his trust that we knew what we were doing. He was not giving support to the details. He was giving his support to a concept that solved a problem he recognized and to a team he believed could do what they said.