2 ways entrepreneurs can make themselves better before their next pitch

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Entrepreneurs make their living by trying to persuade others that they have an idea or product that’s worthwhile, but they can still learn something on how to pitch and how they listen.

Two recent studies dived into the world of entrepreneurs looking at ways they can improve, finding that increased enthusiasm can attract investors while being open to changing your mind is also helpful.

Be open to change

When it comes to proving a point, many won’t admit their wrong — even when they’re wrong. The Harvard Business Review ran a few studies looking at different pitching scenarios in the entrepreneurial world, finding that more than half of entrepreneurs weren’t willing to back down on their instincts, even when they were provided with evidence that proved they were wrong.

Seventy-six percent failed to change their minds during a pitch competition, according to the study, which turned out to have negative implications on them during pitching processes. However, those who did were six times more likely to advance in the competition.

To sum it up: Being open to change can benefit you by making you seem more intelligent. It shows your savvy and can react to different situations, especially those that don’t go according to your planned course.

Put more passion into your pitches

There’s new scientific evidence that in order to receive more financial backing from potential investors, entrepreneurs should pitch with more passion. It might sound odd that entrepreneurs wouldn’t be enthused with what they are offering, but some might have difficulty pitching their product with the passion that went into cultivating it.

“Pitching with enthusiasm and passion–these are skills that can be taught,” said Scott Shane an economics professor at Case Western Reserve University, and the study’s lead author. “Flat, unenthusiastic pitches are the enemy of attracting investor attention and to succeeding in a competitive, cutthroat environment.”

For their study, published in the Journal of Business Venturing, researchers randomly assigned videos of pitches to potential investors. The videos were identical in content, but how they were delivered differed. By tracking brain waves, researchers found that investors assigned with pitches fueled with passion were a quarter more interested in the same pitch delivered with less passion.

“Entrepreneurs should know: More engaged brains are more likely to meaningfully evaluate pitches,” Shane said. “We believe our data makes a strong argument that displays of passion trigger heightened engagement that, in turn, makes investors more likely to write a check.”

The study was conducted by Scott Shane, an economics professor at Case Western Reserve University, David Clingingsmith, an economics professor at the Weatherhead School, Will Drover from the University of Oklahoma and Moran Cerf of Northwestern University.