Pitch Anything: A Better Method To Present & Persuade


I just finished reading Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff and it was incredible. The information was so good that I wanted to put aside everything I was working on so I could learn and implement the information in the book as quickly as possible. Without a doubt it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Below are the comprehensive book notes that G-Hunt put together from Pitch Anything (he recommended the book to me). As you’ll they are dripping in awesomeness and value. Hopefully this gets you to pick up a copy of the book (which you can get via the link above) and you can implement Oren’s methods into your presentations & pitches. When you do make sure to hit me up on Twitter @RobCressy and let me know about it.


Method – Chapter 1

Setting the frame—Telling the story—Revealing the intrigue—Offering the prize—Nailing the hook point—Getting the decision – STRONG

Great pitch is not about procedure its about getting and keeping attention. You have to own the room! Frame control—drive emotions with intrigue pings—and get to hook point quick

Three Parts of the Brain

  1. Crocodile Brain – Initial filtering of incoming messages and generates most survival fight-or-flight responses. Anything that is not a crisis is marked as Spam. Info must be delivered in a simple, clear, nonthreatening, and above all, intriguing and novel.
  2. Mid-Brain – Determines the meaning of things and social situations.
  3. Neocortex – Problem solving ability of brain and is able to think about complex issues and produce answers using reason

You use the neocortex to pitch but it is received by the croc brain initially. It ends up being coded like this:

  • Boring: Ignore it
  • Dangerous: Fight or Run
  • Complicated: Radically summarize and pass it in severely truncated form

Rules of Engagement – Two questions we ask after every presentation or pitch

  1. Did I get through?
  2. Was my message well received?

Make sure your message fulfills two objectives:

  1. You don’t want your message to trigger fear alarms
  2. Make sure it gets recognized as something positive, unexpected and out of the ordinary

A Frame is the measurement you use to package your power, authority, strength, information and status.

Frame Control – Chapter 2

Frames are the perspective that each person has. The moment your frame makes contact with the frame of the person you are calling on, they clash, battle and grapple for dominance. If your frame wins, you will enjoy frame control where your ideas are accepted and followed by others. Understanding how to harness and apply the power of frames is the most important thing you will ever learn. When you fail to control the social frame, you probably have already lost.

If you have to explain your authority, power, position. leverage and advantages you do not hold the stronger frame. Think of when a cop pulls you over.

Opposing Frames you will encounter:

  1. Power Frame – Most common opposing frame. Someone with a massive ego. When you encounter arrogance, lack of interest. The “I’m more important than you” guy. Avoid falling into this frame by reacting to it. Acting deferential, engaging in meaningless small talk or letting yourself be told what to do reinforces the alpha status your target and confirms your subordinate position.
  2. Time frame – Happens when you loose attention and audience becomes bored
  3. Analyst frame – relies on facts, figures and logic

Response frames to meet oncoming frames, win the collision and control agenda:

  1. Power-busting frame
  2. Time constraining frame
  3. Intrigue frame
  4. Prize frame

When you abide by the rituals of power instead of establishing your own, you reinforce the opposing power frame.

To instigate a power frame collision, use a mildly shocking but not unfriendly act to cause it. Use defiance and light humor. This captures attention and elevates your status by creating “local star power.”

Plowing – When frames collide. Always move forward. Never stopping. Never any self-doubt.

Prizing – Reframing everything your audience does and says as if they are trying to win you over.
When you own the frame, people respond to you.

  • If you are trying to win your targets respect, attention and money, he becomes the prize.
  • When your target is trying to win your attention and respect you are the prize.

Prizing is the sum of the actions you take to get your target to understand that he is a commodity and you are the prize. It results in them chasing you!

When you are no longer performing for the money, the frame changes drastically. (Dog-and-pony show)
See yourself as the prize: The money has to earn you, not the other way around. Flip the script.

If you trigger curiosity and desire, the croc chases you.

Fundamental Behaviors of Human Beings:

  1. We chase that which moves away from us.
  2. We want what we cannot have
  3. We only place value on things that are difficult to obtain.

Don’t use trial closes. This shows you are to eager to get a deal done. Crude and ineffective. Instead of a trial close issue a challenge. “So many buyers, yet only one of me. How are you going to compete for my attention.” Statement not question.

Prize frame works best when you change your attitude about money—fully realizing that money is almost useless to any buyer until it purchases what you have.

Your deal is unique among all others. If you think of yourself and your deal in this way and build frames around this idea, you will be pleased at how this will change the social dynamics in your meetings.

“I’m glad I could find time to meet with you today. And I do have another meeting right after this. Let’s get started.” Tells audience there are many like them but only one of you.

Intrigue Frame – No one takes a meeting to hear about something they already know and understand. When a target agrees to a meeting he is saying “this is a puzzle I’m interested in solving.”

At the start of your presentation you have their attention because they are asking themselves: “How similar is your idea to something I already know about or to a problem i already solved?” If it is close to what they earlier guessed they will mentally check-out. Those who solve the puzzle drop out.

Intrigue frame is the most powerful because it hijacks higher cognitive functions to arouse more primitive systems of the target’s brain. The human brain is unable to be coldly analytical and warmly engaged in a narrative at the same time.

The Intrigue Story – Use when a target drills down into technical material.

  1. Must be brief, and the subject must be relevant to your pitch
  2. You need to be at the center of the story
  3. Should include risk, danger and uncertainty
  4. There should be time pressure-a clock is ticking
  5. There should be tension-blocked by a force
  6. Serious consequences-failure not pretty

Status – Chapter 3

How others view you is critical to your ability to establish the dominate frame and hold onto the power you take when you win the frame collision.

BETA Trap – A subtle but effective social ritual that puts you in the low-statues position and works to keep you there. Think reception desk.

If you wish to elevate your social value in any given situation, you can do so by redirecting people into a domain where you are in charge. Also called local star power. The ability to create and sustain local star power literally is going to mean the difference between success and failure.

A well-chosen, well-timed friendly but disruptive act will dethrone the king in a single act. Taking the apple (for example).

Momentum is key. Create high-status immediately. Don’t hesitate. Choose a frame and force a collision at the most opportune moment and do it early.

Have fun. Be popular. Enjoy your work.

Seizing Situational Status

  1. Politely ignore power rituals and avoid beta traps.
  2. Be unaffected by your customer’s global status.
  3. Look for opportunities to perpetuate small denials and defiances that strengthen your frame and elevate your status.
  4. As soon as you take power, quickly move discussion into an area where you are the dominant expert.
  5. Apply a prize frame by positioning yourself as the reward for doing business with you.
  6. Confirm your alpha status by making your customer make a statement that qualifies your higher status. “Remind me again why in the world I want to do business with you?”Yeah that’s good, I’ll keep that in mind.” Needs to be playful and interesting with a little edge to it.

Pitching Your Idea – Chapter 4

The most critical thing that must happen first is making the target feel at ease.

Time-constraint pattern – what you start, let target know he isn’t trapped in a typical hour-long meeting: “Guys let’s get started. I’ve only got about 20 minutes to give you the big idea, which will leave us some time to talk it over before I have to get out of here. Anything can be pitched in 20 min by a pro. Think of the double-helix that only took 5 minutes.

Pitch in four sections or phrases:

  1. Introduce yourself and the big idea: 5 minutes
    • My degree is from Berkeley. I did my MBA at UCLA. After that I was at McKinsey for four years, but really my only homer there was the sales program i did for Lexus. Saved them $15M and they still use it today. I left consulting 6 months ago to work on the big idea.
  2. Explain the budget and secret sauce: 10 minutes
  3. Offer the deal: 2 minutes
  4. Stack frames for a hot cognition: 3 minutes

The “Why Now?” Frame

It’s vitally important that the target knows that your idea is new, emerging from current market opportunities and that its not some relic left over. They need to know that you are pitching a new idea that came to life from a pattern of forces that you recognized, seized, and are now taking advantage of and that you have more knowledge than anyone else.

Three Market Forces Pattern: Trendcasting

  1. Economic Forces – Briefly describe what has changed financially in the market for your idea
  2. Social Forces – Highlight what emerging changes in peoples behavior patterns exist for your idea
  3. Technology Forces – What technology changes have occurred

The Idea Introduction Pattern

“For [target customers]
Who are dissatisfied with [the current offerings in the market].
My idea/product is a [new idea or product category].
That provides [key problem/soltuion features].
Unlike [the competing product].
My idea/product is [describe key features].”

How attention works: “We notice things that have movement through space and time because they are likely to be important.”

Phase 2 The Budget and Secret Sauce

Simplicity doesn’t really matter. What you really want to do is tune the message to the mind of the target.

Ideas you come up with using your problem-solving—the neocortex—must be intentionally retuned for the croc-brain that will receive them.

“Theory of mind” When you have a working theory of mind, you are able to understand how thoughts, desires, and intentions of others cause them to act.

It’s important how well you can tune your information to the other person’s mind.

Attention will be given when the information novelty is high,and will drift away when information novelty is low.

Attention is just a cocktail of chemicals served up to the brain as a lubricant for social interaction.

You need to know how to blend the perfect cocktail and when to serve it.

When a person is feeding both desire (offer a reward) and tension (take something away), that person is paying serious attention to what’s in front of him.

The Brain is a Cognitive Miser – it wants to exert as little energy as possible figuring out you and your idea.

When you introduce Novelty to the targets brain a release of dopamine occurs:

  • A short product demo provide novelty
  • A new idea provides novelty
  • Good metaphors for otherwise complex subjects provide novelty
  • Bright objects, moving objects, and unique shapes and configurations

Tension Examples: A pitch narrative can be thought of as a series of tension loops. Push then pull. Create tension. then resolve it.

Low Key, Low Intensity Push/Pull Pattern:
Push: “There’s a real possibility that we might not be right for each other.”
Pull: “But then again, if this did work out. our forces could combine to become something great.”

Frame Stacking and Hot Cognitions – Chapter 5

Hot Cognition – Deciding that you like something before you fully understand it.

Narrative Pattern for Building an Intrigue Frame:

  • Put a man in the jungle
  • Have beasts attack him
  • Will he get to safety

Words you say to yourself to fully activate and deploy the prize frame

  • I am the prize
  • You are trying to impress me
  • You are trying to win my approval

The prize frame does not rely on words or explanations. It’s more about the strength of your conviction about who or what is the prize.

Cold cognition – is the certainty of “knowing” something is good or bad by having evaluated it. “Just give me the cold, hard facts.” Labor intensive method processing of facts through a decision matrix.

You can trigger a hot cognition instantly, but cold cognition can take hours or days.

Eradicating Neediness – Chapter 6

Self-protection is an unconscious reaction that comes from the croc-brain.

Neediness is a signal of threat. It results in avoidance.

“Get some Game” Find some source of inner strength, confidence, and poise.

Neediness equals weakness

Solution to Eradicating Neediness

  • Want nothing. Eliminate desires – It’s not necessary to want things. Sometimes you have to let them come to you.
  • Focus only on things you do well. Be excellent in the presence of others – Show people one thing you are good at.
  • Announce your intention to leave the social encounter. Withdraw – At a crucial moment, when people are expecting you to come after them, pull away.

“The Tao of Steve” use it to stifle the urge to seek approval. When you finish your pic, deny your audience. Start to pull away. In doing so, you banish insecurity and trigger a powerful prizing effect on target.

The Airport Deal – Chapter 7

Anatomy of a Pitch

  1. Start with the right tone
  2. Get the frame right – Money making vs Legacy
  3. Hit the buttons that produce hot cognitions with a sledgehammer – any product that your target consciously or subconsciously believes will enhance his social image will get his brain hot with desire.

Built Pitch around Four Phases

Phase 1: Frame control, grab status, introduce the big idea
Phase 2: Explain the problem/solution and our special advantage
Phase 3: Offer the deal
Phase 4: Stack frames for hot cognition

Pre-pitch Thoughts – what’s going through head at the last minute

  1. Get the tone right, frame myself as the alpha, seize status and hit their hot button.
  2. Deploy a big idea that is human and captures the theme of “building a legacy.”
  3. Keep it captivating with visuals that resonate.
  4. Create hot cognitions. Make them want the idea before they even know the details.

Get in the Game – Chapter 8

Frame control method comes naturally for most people who can follow the blueprint here and have a good sense of humored a positive outlook on life.

Getting Started

Step 1: Learn to recognize beta traps and how to step around them. Low risk way of training your mind to think in a frame-based way. Identify anything that is designed to control your behavior and think of how you would step around it. Get good at seeing the traps.

Step 2: In a gradual way, start stepping around beta traps. Uncomfortable at first but it will push you forward to the place where it becomes natural. Don’’t overcomplicate this or worry over your lack of technique. Just be sure to have fun. That’s the secret to success.

Step 3: Identify and label social frames. Notify the frames that are coming at you on every level of your life. Power frames, time frames, and analyst frames are everywhere. Be very good at identifying frames and using the unique language of framing.

Step 4: Begin to initiate frame collisions with safe targets. those who pose no major career risk to you. Remember that humor and a soft touch are absolutely necessary.

Step 5: The small acts of defiance and denial you use to take control of a social frame create a certain amount of conflict and tension. This is the point. Push. Pull. Delivering these acts with a soft touch reassures the croc brain that everything is okay. Do not trigger defensive responses.

Step 6: Frame control cannot be forced because this takes the fun out of it. This is not theatre for someone else to enjoy. It’s a game for your own personal enjoyment. If you find yourself forcing the method, lighten up a little. There is no pressure here, no brute force and no anxiety. Instead this is a fun game that you bring to every target.

Step 7: Work with other frame masters. Seek out others that are better than you. Keep it simple, stick to a few frames that work for you and avoid complication.

This is a game where you set the rules and then change the rules as needed to maintain your continuous advantage without ever upsetting your opponent. The only rule is that you make the rules that the others follow. Because you set the agenda and control the frame, this is a game you can never lose.

Important terms for you to know and own personally:

  • Frame control
  • Power-busting frame
  • Frame collisions
  • Prizing
  • Beta traps
  • Seizing status
  • Local star power
  • Push/pull
  • Alpha
  • Hot cognition
  • Crocodile brain
  • Neocortex

These terms label the social phenomena that are invisible to others and that used to be invisible to you.

You can check out more about Pitch Anything and Oren Klaff here.

You can check out more of the book notes we’ve created here.


If you are looking for some sales, business development, or digital marketing strategy and execution to help grow your business then lets talk ASAP. Contact Rob Cressy at rob@cressmedia.com or via this webform.

Tags: , ,

books  //  sales  //  startup


Copyright © 2017 Cress Media Group LLC

Sports Content Studio

Cress Media is a Chicago Sports Marketing Content Studio. We help brands activate sports fans by telling their story in a fun and engaging way via audio, video, and social content creation. We get your audience talking, taking action, and having fun with your brand online and offline. Whether in Chicago or any other part of the country Cress Media can handle your content creation and sports marketing needs.