Making a Science Riot with Steve Nash! 

Science Riot Pitch Lab Interview Steve Nash Header

 What could possibly be funny about tree-ring dating or Russian gem carvings? 

Lots, if you hear about them from Steve Nash. As Director of Anthropology and Curator of Archaeology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (whew!), this author and Getty Leadership Institute graduate has a list of accomplishments longer than a Diplodocus tail. 

Steve mingles his scientific know-how into his stand-up comedy. He also serves on the board of Science Riot, a non-profit that teaches scientists to be better speakers by using stand-up comedy techniques in their presentations.

Pitch Lab caught up with Steve to ask him a few questions about his worst experience on stage, what’s so funny about ancient Pompeii and why every scholar needs to work on their public speaking skills:

 

How do you describe what you do for a living to your kids? 

I study humanity in all its absurd, ridiculous glory. I’m therefore a kid in a candy store.

 

What are you most proud of in your career thus far? 

Having worked at two fantastic museums, having traveled widely, and having a productive working relationship with Russian colleagues during a time of geopolitical tension. Art and Science above Politics.

 

Dinosaurs or UFOs? 

UFOs, for they tell us a lot more about our own insecurities then they do about extraterrestrial life. 

Steve Nash Dinner

If you could invite three people to dinner—living, dead, fictional, or real—who would they be?

Leonardo da Vinci. The embodiment of genius and expansive curiosity, coupled with a horrible business acumen and a remarkable inability to complete important projects. A HUMAN genius to be sure. 

Curly Howard of The Three Stooges. A comedic genius, with demonstrable grace and athleticism, who also has an impeccable sense of timing—all the while commenting on social inequality in the 1930s and 1940s. Who could ask for more? 

A Neanderthal woman. Neanderthal men get all the focus and perhaps credit when we think of “cavemen.” What was it like to be alive 40,000 years ago, and to be a Neanderthal? Surely, a woman would have more insights…

 

If you could travel to any time period (backward or forward) where would you go?

Renaissance Italy. From a health and safety perspective, it would have been a horrible place to live. But from an enlightenment perspective, what a time! Throw off the shackles imposed by the Catholic Church to embrace Humanism and the belief that life here on earth is worth living AND enjoying. Thrilling! 

 

Steve Nash Truck Gaze

What’s your all-time favorite exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science? 

The “A Day in Pompeii” traveling exhibition in 2012. A tragically precise moment recorded archaeologically. 

I was so intrigued by this time period I wrote an entire comedy set on the subject

  

Who is the comedian you admire most and why?

Dave Chappelle. A brilliant comedian who infuses his jokes with keen and often biting commentary on social justice issues. Confidence personified. 

 

Steve Nash Comedian Science Riot

You’ve called stand-up comedy the hardest things you’ve ever done professionally. Why is that? 

It went against EVERYTHING I was formally trained to do. The structure of the routine was different. The cadence was different. The expectation was different. 

 

What is the best piece of comedy advice you’ve received?

Stop and pause. Recognize where the audience is during your routine, then work with that flow. Acknowledge interruptions and jokes that don’t do so well. It’s a dialogue, not a soliloquy. 

 

How has stand-up comedy helped you in your career?

It’s diversified the experiences and opportunities I am involved in and with. I meet a totally different crowd of professionals who are smart and insightful, and I get to share laughs with them. 


What’s the worst stage fright you’ve ever had before a presentation, and how did you get through it? 

First: Giving a presentation on acid-base titration in high school chemistry, in a suit. I didn’t get through it. I bombed horribly. 

Second: Doing my first stand-up comedy routine at Science Riot at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science in 2016. I memorized the routine so well that I did it with muscle memory, plowed through it, then took a deep, deep breath at the end. It was addictive!

 

The first time you saw Pitch Lab were you surprised how well stand-up comedy techniques translated to public speaking and presentation skills?

Yes! They’re not necessarily easy techniques, but they’re simple and actionable once you understand them. 

 

Why should every museum professional and scholar stop what they’re doing and attend a Pitch Lab workshop right now?

Because scholarly presentations are a kind of performance, and all performances can be improved with practice and awareness. I am tired of horrible presentations and, quite frankly, can’t understand why scholars are so willing to spend so much time and effort on the content without spending even a minimum amount of time focused on the delivery. It works!


Steve Nash GLI improv


While Steve stays crazy busy in his professional life, if he ever expands into giving museum tours, you know the guide you’ll want to choose.

Ladies and gentlemen, a big round of applause to Steve Nash for helping the world of science find its funny!  

5 Tips for Teaching Public Speaking to Your Kids!

Elementary School OI

When Pitch Lab was born we were certain only salespeople would attend our workshops. What a surprise to see the room also filled with so many talented marketers, project managers and executives!  

What we learned is most attendees have one thing in common: the fear of public speaking prevents them from landing their dream job, getting the promotion they deserve or helping their team succeed.

So when our local elementary school asked for public speaking coaches to volunteer their time, I jumped at the opportunity to give my daughter and her friends an advantage we all wish we had at their age.

And truth be told I've never been great at sports, so I was also stoked to be called “Coach.”

Then came the hard part: figuring out how to translate the techniques we use to help seasoned professionals… to a room full of second graders.

How do you simplify the message to resonate with eight-year-olds?

But fear not, teaching public speaking to kids doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are 5 easy ways to give your kids a head start: 

 

1 - Content Is Key

Make sure your kid actually enjoys what he or she is reciting. Don’t put more pressure on what’s actually being said than you have to.

Young kids are naturally going to gravitate towards Lego Batman over Abe Lincoln, so use that to your advantage. Get your kids started by reciting a funny poem from Shel Silverstein, a page out of Hop on Pop or their favorite monologue from Captain Underpants.

And to start out, keep it as short as possible. Comedy Works gives its first-timers two minutes max on New Talent Night. Even those two minutes can feel like an eternity when things don’t go right, trust me.

 

2 - Manage Stage Fright from the Start

As a parent, I’m a huge proponent of validating your kids’ feelings. When it comes to stage fright, you need to do the same thing.

Share with your child that it’s not about getting rid of the butterflies in your tummy, it’s about getting the butterflies to fly information

During class, instead of trying to calm down before we went on stage, we stood up tall in our best Wonder Woman/Superman pose and said, “I AM EXCITED!” 

The superhero posture gives your child a subconscious feeling of confidence and also leads to a few laughs to keep it fun.

Furthermore, studies show that reframing public speaking anxiety as excitement leads to feeling more in control, and ultimately a better performance.

 

3 - There’s Power in Dramatic Pause

Most children tend to race through content while performing on stage. Maybe they’re excited. Maybe it’s a strategy to cover up their stage fright. Or maybe it’s simply because they want to get it over with. 

Here’s the punchline. Your child doesn’t talk too fast. He or she just isn’t pausing enough. 

Don’t tell your kid to slow down. Rather, teach her where to pause to allow the listener to catch up and build tension where needed.

Like a graphic designer uses white space, that’s how you need to instruct your child to use dramatic pauses.

 

4 - Over-prepare

When it comes to public speaking, nothing matches the advantage of preparation. Forget coaching your child's body language; keep focused on practice.

The silver bullet for helping your kid is repetition. 

As your child memorizes the content, her delivery will become more authentic and her body language will improve naturally. Start slow and build momentum as you go. 

At school, we practiced weekly in the classrooms, but their homework was to recite their piece two times a day. Every day.

 

5 - Give Lots of Positive Feedback

Never start critiquing right away. In fact, don’t do anything to discourage your child while practicing. 

Say you’re proud of him or her for getting up there, and encourage her to keep going. Your positive feedback is paramount. Build her self-confidence and the rest will fall into place. 

You’re giving your kid a head start on a skill that they will use for the rest of their lives. Is there really anything more to do than applaud? 

Pitch Lab is More Than Just Child’s Play

Our clients are smart people who do amazing work but want help presenting their ideas better. 

Pitch Lab produces custom workshops that break down the comedy techniques the pros use on stage to help your team team build better relationships, differentiate from the competition and win more clients.

Want to learn more about how we can help your client-facing team? Let’s chat!

Nick Offerman's Secret to Success

Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness

Chasing success can be grueling.

 

Some nights I go to bed victorious. 

 

Some days I feel like I came up short... as an entrepreneur, a husband or a Dad.

 

But we’re harder on ourselves than anyone else is. 

 

In the midst of it all, are we taking enough time to enjoy what we have right now? Even though we haven’t hit these arbitrary goals we’ve put on ourselves? 

 

In this 2-minute video, Nick Offerman talks about how he was able to remain patient and happy while waiting for his big break on Parks and Recreation. 

  

After watching this video I thought about how much of my own happiness I’m withholding until after I’ve “made it”. 

  

I hope it also inspires you to take some time for yourself this summer and put happiness first. 

 

Wishing you lots of success… and the patience to get there. 

Before his big break on the hit TV show 'Parks and Recreation', Nick Offerman spent 16 years as a struggling actor. Here's what that challenging time taught the star about happiness and patience.

Why Breaking "The 4th Wall" Will Make You a More Engaging Speaker

jim gaffigan whisper voice

What Is "The Fourth Wall?" 

The formal definition of The Fourth Wall is a theatrical term for the imaginary “wall” that exists between actors on stage and the audience. 

Obviously, no such wall really exists, but to keep up the illusion of theater, the actors pretend that they cannot hear or see the audience and the audience gets to enjoy the wonderful sensation of being a fly on the wall. The same effect often occurs in movies, only the fourth wall in that instance is a camera lens.

In some of your favorite movies and television shows, actors purposely break the fourth wall and speak directly to the audience. This happens in shows like Modern Family and The Office, when they conduct their interviews for the audience.

Another great example is Deadpool -- when Ryan Reynold's snarky humor and profanity is directed toward you about his true feelings in the moment. 

Image courtesy of Julie Hansen, @acting4sales

Image courtesy of Julie Hansen, @acting4sales

How Does this Apply to Public Speaking? 

When commanding the room, you break the fourth wall by "calling the room." How exactly do you call the room? Acknowledge the obvious in your surroundings... if you notice it, your audience notices it. This will keep everyone there with you in the moment and engaged in the experience. 

 

Watch Jim Break The 4th Wall with His Whisper Voice!

And since we frequently discuss Jim Gaffigan in our workshops, I want to share one of my favorite clips about Jim's addition to cake! Notice what a great job he does both changing perspectives and breaking the 4th wall through the ingenious use of his whisper voice.

Want to learn more about how breaking the fourth wall will help your team build better relationships, differentiate from the competition and win more deals? Let's chat! 

 

5 Stand-Up Comedy Tips to Be a Better Public Speaker!

My dream has been to one day get Pitch Lab into a comedy club.

It’s taken years.

Voodoo TEDx Pitch Lab

You see, the comedy stage is where I overcame my fear of public speaking.

When I first began using the techniques I learned as a stand-up comedian: authenticity, vulnerability & breaking the 4th wall — not only did my presentations improve, but I started building real connections.

And beat my stage fright.

Jay Voodoo TEDx Pitch Lab

What we’ve learned at Pitch Lab over the years is most of our attendees have one thing in common:

The fear of public speaking prevents them from landing their dream job, getting the promotion they deserve, or helping their team succeed.

Voodoo TEDx Pitch Lab Comedy Karaoke

That’s why partnering with TEDxMileHigh Adventures & Voodoo Comedy Playhouse to give back to Denver has been a highlight of our journey so far.

Voodoo TEDx Pitch Lab Daniel Reskin

Want the Top 5 tips we shared to build better relationships, differentiate from the competition and win more clients?

 
Voodoo TEDx Pitch Lab Crowd Shot

David Letterman's Top 5 Leadership Lessons!

Image via CBS/Worldwide Pants

Image via CBS/Worldwide Pants

Conan O’Brien calls David Letterman “the North Star” for comedians of his generation.

John Stewart describes him as an “epiphany.”

Jimmy Kimmel says Letterman was more important to him than sleep, and he refers to Dave as “my Jesus.” 

Even if you didn’t watch late-night television throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s (back when DVRs didn’t exist), you knew Letterman. 

His biting ironic voice has become pervasive in popular culture, but you can’t truly appreciate the tumultuous rise to fame and notoriety of this weatherman from Indiana until you read his biography, “The Last Giant of Late Night” by Jason Zinoman.

Before we jump in… I get it. The irony isn’t lost on me that Letterman is famous for his Top-10 lists.

But let’s face it, you’re busy, I’m busy, so a Top 5 list it is:

1 – Surround yourself with people who are more talented than you

Especially those who compliment your skill set.

Letterman understood the power of collaborating with talented writers who value one another’s strengths rather than being intimidated by them.

In the early days of his talk show, all the greatest jokes and bits were not Dave’s at all; they were Merrill Markoe’s.

IMAGE VIA  MERrILL MARKOE

IMAGE VIA MERrILL MARKOE

Merrill was a fantastic writer who didn’t love the stage. Dave always excelled at comedic timing, delivery and crowd work.

Together they were unstoppable. 

Markoe was Letterman‘s critical collaborator for the formative years of his television career, creating many essential parts of the show, including the famous “Stupid Pet Tricks” segment

“The show has always been somebody else’s voice. I have ultimate veto, but I haven’t had an idea since I was eleven, really. My viability as a creative voice is limited.”

– David Letterman 

   

2 – Know your strengths and play to them

Throughout his career, Letterman tried standup, hosting game shows, acting and even dancing. 

In 1979, he was offered the lead in Airplane!.

Playing aloof fighter pilot Ted Striker seemed like an apt fit for Letterman’s arched-eyebrow sensibility. But he wasn’t just relieved when he didn’t get the part; he was actually happy. 

In his cameo as an obnoxious motivational speaker on Mork & Mindy, you can practically see the discomfort dripping off Letterman (though the leisure suit might shoulder some of the blame).

He knew when he was in a role that was inauthentic to his skill set and said “I’ll never try that again.”

And he never did.

Letterman understood he was happier by showcasing his strengths compared to struggling through his less proficient talents.

 

3 – Embrace improvisation 

Letterman was a host at heart and loved crowd work.

The Late Show began exploiting these strengths with man-on-the-street interviews, impromptu calls to a woman working across the street from his studio and of course his playful banter with Paul Schafer.

One of the core tenants of improv comedy is “Yes, And.” The underlining principle being that you can innovate faster by affirming and building on ideas rather than shutting your teammates down.

Letterman knew that even bad ideas can be a bridge to better ideas. The team at Late Night always saw mishaps as opportunities.

Chaos wasn’t something to eliminate but rather something to relish in.

Letterman was light on his feet and able to break the fourth wall by adding an element of self-awareness. 

When a microphone didn’t work, Letterman would enter the picture, “You know, ladies and gentlemen, what you have witnessed is a screw-up.”

Some of the show’s greatest comedy came through improvisation. Letterman, like all great improvisers, knows that going off script often leads to magic. 

 

4 – Stand for something

Letterman’s entire career was about embracing his role as the underdog. 

He was anti-authority, anti-Hollywood, anti-TV and in some baffling interviews even anti-guest.

His audience loved him for it, and Letterman became one of the most fully realized characters on television—a beloved crank who was off-putting and entirely his own.

When pop star Billy Idol appeared as a guest on Late Night—with his black leather jacket, shock of white spiky hair and a playful scowl—he told Letterman that his songs were so popular that drug dealers were naming their products after them.  

Letterman injected some antagonism into the exchange and sneered, “You must be a very proud young man.”

Great comedians take a stand even if it’s divisive or polarizing. It’s taking a stand that creates love or hate. It’s taking a stand that forges fanaticism. It’s taking a stand that develops traction. 

Letterman wasn’t interested in lukewarm affinity.

He chose to be loved by a very passionate group of people who respected that he stood for something, and he was willing to risk being hated by some in the process. 

“You got a show and don’t have an opinion: What does that make you?”

– David Letterman 

 

5 – Celebrate your team’s wins along the way (sadly, Dave seldom did)

Letterman's gap-toothed grin was a welcome sight in homes across the nation from 1982-2015. Still, he was hardly a barrel of laughs off the air.

Those who worked with him say they knew a different man: an insecure hypochondriac whose fiery temper scared away many of those close to him.

For someone who started out as a no-name weatherman in Indiana, Letterman had plenty of career touchstones to feel good about.

He won numerous Emmy Awards. His idol, Johnny Carson, acknowledged that he was the rightful heir to the Tonight Show, and he was ultimately crowned the King of Late Night. 

The irony: Letterman was miserable even when his ratings put his show at No. 1. 

His self-criticism was reflexive and incessant. He was never truly comfortable unless he was seething with unhappiness.

When it comes to culture, it is said the fish rots from the head down.

Letterman seldom allowed himself to acknowledge the wins he and his team accomplished along the way, creating a toxic work environment ruled by anxiety and fear.

Nor did he care the effect his poor leadership had on his team. 

“This is a shitty place to work, but it will look good on your resume. Here’s a lollipop.”

– David Letterman 

Thank you and goodnight.

Letterman’s success and influence are built on pillars that we can all use to up our game at work.

We can also pay attention to his failings and avoid the pitfalls that come with the whirlwind of next-level success. 

You can still see the influence of David Letterman everywhere.

When James Corden shoots an entire episode in a stranger’s house or when Jimmy Fallon conducts an interview on helium or when Billy Eichner interacts with an unsuspecting passerby on the street, they are all walking in Letterman’s footsteps. 

Now, imagine what he could have accomplished with the right team culture behind the curtain.

# # #

The Last Giant of Late Night Jason Zinoman

If you like this post, you’ll love Letterman’s biography, “The Last Giant of Late Night” by Jason Zinoman.

“Jason Zinoman’s writing is unbelievable, folks. The Smithsonian has already phoned and said they want a copy of his book for their time capsule. Stay home from work, and keep the kids home from school. History is being made.”

– David Letterman 

"I'm Not Joking" with Dr. Peter McGraw!

I'm Not Joking Podcast

About The “I’m Not Joking” Podcast

Glimpse into the lives of comedians, improvisers, comedy writers, and other funny people from business, science, and the arts. Host Dr. Peter McGraw sits down with funny people for a wide-ranging discussion of their habits, motivations, and secrets to success.

Dr. Peter McGraw & Jay Mays After a Podcast Well Done

Dr. Peter McGraw & Jay Mays After a Podcast Well Done

Engaging Speaking with Pitch Lab!

This week’s episode features Jay Mays of Pitch Lab (hey, that’s me!)

Every now and again you collaborate with someone that motivates you to take your work to the next level.

For me this is Dr. Peter McGraw: author of The Humor Code, TEDx Speaker & Professor of Marketing & Psychology at CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.

I had a blast on “I’m Not Joking” talking stand-up comedy, sales and the joke Demetri Martin stole from me:

DPM: What were your go-to jokes as a restaurant server?

JM: Anytime a guest said “there’s a crack in my glass,” I would say, “I’ll be right back with a straw.”

DPM: <Laughs>

Another fun one was when a guest would say “We need more butter.” I’d put one pat of butter in my bare hand, and another pat of butter on a plate hidden behind my back.

When I returned to the table I’d say, “Here’s your butter” and show them the butter sitting in my hand.

It was gross and they’d look at it very confused, and then after a beat I’d pull the butter on the plate out from behind my back and smile, “Just kidding.”

DPM: That would get a big laugh?

JM: Yes! Did you see Demetri Martin’s new one on Netflix?

DPM: I haven’t seen it. Netflix is pushing that one on me hardcore, but I haven’t watched it.

JM: I like Demetri. He’s a cleaner, more accessible Ben Kronberg with his one-liners.

DPM: <Laughs> Hold on! That’s super funny to me, I’m not sure that would be funny to anyone else… because I know Ben and you work with Ben.

JM: Ben’s one of my favorite comedians but he’s not always accessible to the mainstream. Demetri Martin has a joke at the end of his special about a waiter touching his food. I was like, “Aaaah! I’ve used that joke for years. It’s my joke!

Jay Mays &amp; Dr. McGraw Acting Natural for a Very Staged Photo

Jay Mays & Dr. McGraw Acting Natural for a Very Staged Photo

Big thanks to Dr. McGraw for the podcast love! Give it a listen, I promise it’ll put a smile on your face during on your next horrific commute.

Don’t have the time? Well you’re in luck! Click here to skim the transcript and feel like you got the gist!

Passion Is for Amateurs. What to Focus on Instead.

Image via Lion King  Wiki

Image via Lion King Wiki

“Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas.” – Paula Poundstone

Three years ago I left a company I loved, with the hope of doing something more with my career.

I had just turned 40. I was tired from being on the road so much. I wanted more time with my family. It was time for a change, but I didn’t know what was next.

So I read. A lot. Trying to find meaning. Looking for an authentic next step. Wanting to make the most of what is to be “the most successful decade of your career.”

And while I’m far from figuring it all out. I did discover a few gems that have helped me tremendously and will hopefully help you, too.


Stop doing shit you hate.

You may remember being passionate about practically everything work-related when you were young. I know I do. But, as time goes on, it becomes harder to feel that corporate passion. Especially when nothing feels new. After all, you’re not saving lives. You’re not even saving pets’ lives.

Then Gary Vaynerchuk inspired me to replace the word “passion” with “strength.” This change in perspective changes everything. After that, I wasn’t stuck trying to find passion anymore and created a new plan where I let my strengths guide my decisions.

His message is simple and powerful: Stop doing shit you hate. Nail down your strengths so you can discover your passion.

Ryan Holiday takes the idea of passion one step further in his fantastic book called “The Ego Is the Enemy.” In it, he goes so far as to say you shouldn’t be passionate. Why? Because passion is too deeply rooted in emotion and clouds sound decision-making. Instead, leave passion for amateurs and focus on your purpose.

 

Relax, purpose is everywhere.

Do you ever wonder about your life’s purpose? Does it all come down to a single moment like it did for Simon Birch? Will you be ready for it? What if it never comes? 

What if you never invent the next iPhone, cure cancer or star in a movie with Chris Pratt?

Then again, what if life isn’t about a single purpose, but rather many different purposes?

Love your partner. Be the best parent you can be. Help your clients succeed. Prioritize your health. Be of service to those in need. All of these are purposes in life.

In Ask the Aged, Karl Pillemer interviews the elderly and discovers that purpose comes down to this:

“The oldest Americans, most of whom also struggled with the question of purpose, tell you to relax. They say that you are likely to have a number of purposes, which will shift as you progress through life.”

Lead with your strengths. They will get you where you need to go. Purpose is everywhere.


There’s no such thing as the wrong career path.

I’ve always thought it’s okay to be on the wrong path, as long as you’re moving in the right direction. But what if there’s no such thing as the wrong career path?  

Turns out, it’s all stepping stones. Choose a goal and go. Anything. Just get moving.

Neil Strauss does a fantastic job of explaining at the 36:15 mark. Fast-forward to that part in the interview and listen for 2 minutes. It’s worth it.

The best strategies are emergent. Your path up to this point hasn’t been predictable. It was made up of a series of small decisions. Forks in the road you will continue to encounter for the rest of your life.

I love this quote from Peter Sims’ “Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries,” which shines a light on how we prevent ourselves from getting started on our own paths:

“One of the most commons things I hear people say is they would do something new—take an unconventional career path or start a company—but they need a great idea first. I learned that most successful entrepreneurs don’t begin with brilliant ideas—they discover them.”

 

“Not everything has to be okay. And that’s okay.”

Seth Godin's book “What to Do When It’s Your Turn (and It’s Always Your Turn)” has been a great inspiration to me in facing my fear of failure. His philosophies are:

“Fuck it, ship it.”

-AND-

“He who fails most, wins.”

He goes on to say nothing you do means anything until it interacts with the market. Until then, it’s as if there is no work. Like this blog post I’ve been sitting on for months now. I have to publish it.

No, it’s not perfect. But, for me, it represents a single authentic step forward. There's no simple way to quiet the noise in your head. Not everything has to be okay.

Maybe you’re sitting on imperfect work as well. Work that might change the entire trajectory of your career.

Go ahead, ship it. I’d love to read it. Probably. At the very least, I’ll skim it. I’m kidding… send me a link. 

7 Sales Superstitions and Why Your Team Believes in Them

Voodoo Salesman Pitch Lab

We’ve all been there; you have the opportunity to pitch your dream client.

You take your time during discovery. You gain access to all the decision-makers. You expertly differentiate from the competition. The numbers make sense. Your entire team rallies around the pitch—and you crush it.

But then… nothing. Your dream client goes dark.

Not long after comes the “no.” And it’s over. There’s little consolation. No second prize for “Closed Lost” in Salesforce. 

 

Sales Is Full of Uncertainty

That’s the thing with sales. Even when you work hard and do everything right, sometimes it feels like winning needs a pinch of luck.

So we try to capture that luck. Manufacture that luck.

The belief that we can win is what keeps the wind in our sails, even though deep down we know we can’t control the outcome.

But science shows us that the feeling of control, even an illusory feeling of control, can reduce stress and thereby increase performance. 

 

Why Superstitions Work

Superstitions help us because they provide a feeling of control, and that feeling of control actually helps your salespeople perform better under pressure.

I’ve had my own rituals throughout my career and started to wonder, does everyone? So I asked my favorite salespeople that I’ve worked with over the years, and here’s what they had to say about superstitions:

 

“I NEVER celebrate a verbal close or tell my CEO a deal is done until I get final signature from my client.”

– Patrick M., Pandora  


“We all have reps on our teams that consistently sandbag. Some of my most senior reps still refuse to tell me when they had a good meeting or even move a deal to a higher percentage in Salesforce for fear of jinxing the momentum.”

– Austin L., Smaato


“I once had a building in my territory in SoHo where I literally lost every single deal. It was my Temple of Doom. After a while, I determined the entire building was jinxed and never set foot in there again.”

– Daniel E., Konica Minolta


“I have a lucky business card holder. I used it so much the button broke and wouldn’t clasp, but I still rocked it for years.”

– Ed G., Pabst Brewing


“I’ll never duplicate and reuse a proposal from a previous ‘Closed Lost’ opportunity.”

– Antonia M., IKE GPS


“I have one special mug I'll drink coffee from in the morning if I have a big meeting with a new client or if I’m negotiating a house that day.”

– Ana W., Keller Williams


“I always wear a blue shirt if I’m closing a piece of business and if I know there’s a cattle-call pitch that lasts the whole day, 12 noon is my lucky time slot. (Also, it doesn’t hurt to bring the client lunch with heavy carbs so they slip into a food coma while listening to your competitors’ afternoon pitches!)

– Mike H., iHeartRadio


Getting Lucky Takes Work

If rituals and superstitions provide you a feeling of control, by all means, use them to combat the stress that comes with the territory (pun intended).

sales superstitions

We all welcome a pinch of luck. Unfortunately, it’s not predictable, repeatable or scalable. An even better strategy to feel in control is to develop a winning sales approach.

Lucky for you, Pitch Lab returns to General Assembly on November 6th for our next workshop: Every Great Sales Team Needs A Great Strategy. Here’s Yours.

You’ll leave with insight on how to ask the right questions to understand client motivation, differentiate yourself from the competition and close the right deals. 

Contact us to learn more about how Pitch Lab can help your sales team.

Until then, good luck… I mean, break a leg! 

Make A Good Decision For Once At Your Office Holiday Party!

spike the punch Pitch Lab Corporate Event

The holidays are full of cheer, let them be full of laughs too!

Make a good decision for once at your company’s holiday party and host a Pitch Lab improv comedy workshop!

This year give your team the gift of creativity, communication and collaboration!

Improv comedy is our clients’ favorite team building activity because it’s the quickest way to build empathy, authenticity and vulnerability.

And in today’s workplace these qualities are no longer nice to have — they are paramount.

Through improv comedy your team will:

  • Understand how to be more creative using “Yes, And”

  • Learn to be present, connected, and fully engaged in their communication

  • Embrace a collaborative team culture 

  • Adapt positively to change and be open to new ideas

Find Out How Pitch Lab Has Helped Companies Like Yours:

“The workshop was even more fun than I expected. I’ve already seen positive outcomes in client meetings.” 

– Jacqui G


“Pitch Lab was so awesome! Not sure if I learned or laughed more. We all know a great presenter when we see one, but I never analyzed what makes them great.”

— Ashley B.


“Pitch Lab made me excited to get up in front of people and share my ideas!” 

— Elizabeth S.


Want to learn more about how improv comedy can help your team improve their creativity, communication and collaboration?!

Click the button below and we'll set up a 20 minute phone call to find out if a Pitch Lab workshop is a good fit for your company!


— Thanks & Happy Holidays from all of us at Pitch Lab! 🎄 ☃️ 🎅