The punch line in a joke makes no sense if the setup was not powerful.
Here is an old joke that will demonstrate the power of setting up
8-year old Ron was telling his classmate John that he followed John’s advice to get five dollars from his Dad and it didn’t work. John couldn’t believe it and asked Ron to explain what happened. “Well,” Ron Said, “I went to my Dad and told him that I have been good for the whole of last week so I deserve a weekend gift of two dollars. He immediately said no. Based on your advice, I made another request and asked him that he should at least consider giving me five dollars then. That didn’t work either.”
John was banging his head – “It’s the order of the request, idiot.”
Ron obviously didn’t setup the sequence of requests.
Recently, I was visiting a gift store in Los Altos and there was a pillow cover that said, “Mr. Right” on it.
As I was smiling, I saw another pillow cover that said, “Mrs. Always Right”
The first pillow cover obviously was a brilliant setup for the punch line 🙂
Whatever case you are making (pitching for funding, asking for a deal or just making an important decision) you need to learn the art of setting up. It takes time to get good at it but the investment will be worth it.