Ways to distinguish yourself #184 – Invest your time to understand filters

Last week I was talking to a potential investor about a potential opportunity to invest. After the first sentence, the investor said “Raj, I don’t need to hear more about it. That space is not interesting for us.”

We talked about other companies and one of the companies was of deep interest and we ended up talking for at least half an hour on that one company.

Because of the long-term relationship we had developed, this person was interested in hearing about more than one idea. Fortunately, the idea number 4 made its way through to him.


Of course, this is not common. If I didn’t have a prior relationship with this person, there was no way I could have pitched him several ideas. In real life, most of the time, we get one chance to get our idea across. That idea has to pass through that recipient’s “filter” of what he thinks is a good idea. If it does not, then chances are that you are wasting your time.

In the above example, it was clear to me that I had not done my home work. If I had done my home work, I would not have discussed the first three ideas with him. Discussing those three ideas was clearly a waste of his time and my time too.

In this fast moving world, people don’t have a lot of time to listen to things that are not relevant to them. So they put up filters to avoid more input. What may be gold for you may be junk for them. This may mean that they may not get to hear some “really good” ideas but that’s a price they are willing to pay for the convenience.

Really, what they are missing (“really cool ideas”) should not be your problem. Your objective is to get across your ideas. Understanding the recipient’s filters is a key step in helping you achieve this objective.

How can you understand the other person’s filter?

For starters, you can do one or more of the following:

* reading their blog
* talking to people that know this person
* reading his or her bio
* asking the person directly

or simply speaking
* investing time in learning about the other person’s interests from any credible source.

Note 1: For the other 183 entries in the “Distinguish yourself” series, please visit my Squidoo lens on the same topic
Squidoo Lens: Distinguish yourself

Note 2: My latest manifesto on ChangeThis was published on August 8, 2007. Today it is ranked #55. I am overwhelmed by the support for this. Thank you. For those who have read it, I request you to forward the link to others who may benefit from it. Here is the link:
ChangeThis Manifesto: Making the Most of Your Time: Going Beyond To-Do Lists

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