The 6 Ways TV Producers Can Teach Business Leaders To Pitch Change

The other day I was talking to my sister, Beth Polsky, about change. She is a veteran TV producer. We soon realized that in TV, change is central. People are pitching new ideas all the time. Artists, producers, directors all live and die on their ability to sell their ideas: to their bosses, to crews, to actors as well as to the audience. She shared her ideas and then I expanded my conversation and included two other friends - one an actor and one a writer. Here are six methods we agree are critical to pitching change, in any organization.

  1. Confidence- You have to be confident about your ideas. People can smell fear and weakness. If you are not confident, you are not likely to convince others.

  2. Two deep backup – Always have two backup ideas. The first idea may get shot down. To stay in the game and increase your chances of success, be ready with your other options. Some people like to shoot down ideas to see what else you have and then may even come around to the first idea.

  3. Respond to Reactions – Most ideas are not accepted right away. People misunderstand or object in some way. "You need to really listen to their reactions and respond authentically to their comments in order to sell your idea" says Michael Lippman, a writer for TV and movies. And I can tell you he is a master at that!

  4. Fight or Flight - Be willing to fight for your ideas. If you cave in too early, you may have missed the chance to get your idea accepted. And it may take several times of going back to your audience to get buy-in.

  5. Virgin Ears - Paul Valley, an experienced TV and theatre actor told me "In the theatre world, we must continually remind ourselves that this is the first and perhaps only time that the audience gets to hear the ideas/story that we are communicating. We may have heard and spoken these thoughts many times, but they haven’t." So this means to have the same passion and interest that you did the first time you explained it.

  6. Voice Matters – Paul continues, "Actors are experts in voice. They are trained to use their voice to get emotions and ideas across to others.

    • Lesson 1 - Keep your voice loud. Don’t let the sound of your voice trail off. This sends the message of a personal disinterest.

    • Lesson 2- Breath: more, more fully and more deeply. This single idea alters the quality of every spoken thought for the better. Even professional actors must constantly keep this in mind to make sure they get the message across as they intend." So speak up and breathe!

Now you are ready to pitch any change. And maybe even ready to take your place on the big screen! Kidding aside, wherever you work, these 6 tips will help ensure that your ideas you pitch don’t get lost in the noise of a busy world.