A Good Idea is Not Enough: Persuading Like An Entrepreneur
This certificate program consists of three required courses (listed below) and one elective course option.
This certificate is comprised of four single-day courses.
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Discover how persuasion works and discuss principles that can make you more persuasive — in your ventures, your organization and your life.
In a startup, a good idea is not enough. No matter how exceptional your innovation is, you need to show stakeholders how your idea solves their problems and how you can make this solution sustainable. You have to get to know your stakeholders, take their perspectives, understand their needs, shape your value proposition, and build a successful business model. Most importantly, you have to compress your argument into a pitch, which could be as short as 30 seconds.
Entrepreneurs face extreme cases of the kind of persuasion we often have to do within and between organizations: persuasion that involves aligning the concerns and interests of different stakeholders and proposing a workable, sustainable solution.
Participants in this seminar cover the following major issues:
- Understanding the big picture. Why don’t ideas “sell themselves”? How does persuasion work, and how can we develop and communicate an offering that can persuade all of our stakeholders?
- Choosing the right argument — and refining it with feedback. What kind of logic should you apply to your offering? How do you establish feedback loops to refine that offering? How do you identify pain and articulate a persuasive value proposition?
- Making it work: Figuring out your self-sustaining system. A value proposition is the kernel of your argument, but you also have to demonstrate that it can be sustained. Whose problem are you solving? What’s the solution’s scope? What are the pieces of the system that will sustain it? And how do you “fail faster” without failing disastrously?
- Pitching. Once you’ve developed an argument, you have to pitch it, then answer questions from stakeholders who may disagree with you and each other. How do you pitch effectively? How do you co-create solutions with your audience? When do you decide to persevere, pivot — or punt?
Participants are encouraged to bring examples of proposal arguments from their own work: sales pitches, proposals, recommendation reports, feasibility reports, or similar arguments that deliberate on a solution. Dr. Spinuzzi will also provide samples of these materials for participants if they can’t/don’t wish to bring in their own.
In small workgroups, participants examine these materials and discuss:
- What is persuasion, and how does it work?
- What makes a persuasive idea spread? How can we persuade stakeholders with different interests?
- What is the difference between describing a solution and proposing a solution? How can we refine our claims to better persuade different sets of stakeholders?
- What is “market pain”? How do we identify it and why is it so critical to proposing solutions?
- How do you refine a value proposition to make it more persuasive?
- How do you build a self-sustaining system around that value proposition? That is, how do you make sure that the solution can last?
- How do you successfully pitch a solution? What common pitfalls can you avoid?
Details & Registration
Time: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Continuing Education Units (CEUs): 0.6 CEUs will be awarded upon completion of this program (six hours of instruction)
One-Day Seminar Pricing:
Registration fee includes all course materials, catering (lunch and refreshments), WiFi access, and parking.
- Standard Registration: $1,000
- UT System Staff/Alumni Registration: $750
- Educator, Nonprofit, Government, Military Registration: $750
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Clay Spinuzzi is a Professor of Rhetoric and Writing at UT Austin. Dr. Spinuzzi leads HDO 386: Persuasion and Argumentation in the HDO Master’s Degree program. His research focuses on how organizations circulate and coordinate information to solve complex problems. For the last several years, he has led studies into entrepreneurship communication, resulting in nearly a dozen publications.
Spinuzzi has published several award-winning articles and four books: Tracing Genres through Organizations (MIT Press, 2003), Network (Cambridge University Press, 2008), Topsight (Amazon CreateSpace, 2013; second edition, Urso Press, 2018), and All Edge: Inside the New Workplace Networks (University of Chicago Press, 2015).
Who Should Participate
- Startup founders and executive
- Innovation leaders
- Fundraising and Development Professionals
- Decision makers in organizations
- Proposal writers, recommendation report writers, and others who are tasked with proposing solutions
- Senior/Executive Leadership
- Managers and Directors
A really wonderful experience with great content and thoughtful organization. I really appreciated the concrete examples and formulas for building proposals and pitches. These are great tools that I can take with me and apply in my profession.
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Built on strong academic fundamentals and real-world relevance, HDO Certificate Programs are designed to enhance the portfolios of mid- and upper-level professionals.
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