Pitch like a pro: Controlling your frame

listen closely with your ears

This is the first article in a series in which we will discuss the method of pitching outlined by Oren Klaff from his book, Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal.  Oren Klaff spends most of the book outlining the STRONG method and offering examples.  We recommend this book for any professional who makes presentations.  We will give you an overview of each step, but we encourage you to check out the book yourself for all the details.

Set the frame

Tell the story

Reveal the intrigue

Offer the prize

Nail the hookpoint

Get the deal

Oren Klaff’s first step to his method is “Setting the frame.” Everyone has their own “frame” or point of view. The idea is that there cannot be more than one perspective at the same point and place.  Strong perspectives dominate and weaker ones are absorbed. Every time we interact with someone, there is a brief collision of frames before one frame dominates and one succumbs to the other.

The three opposing frames you will likely face in business encounters are the following:

  1. Power frame: This type is typically associated with arrogant and rude people who try to make others feel small and unimportant.
  1. Time frame: This occurs typically later in a discussion or presentation when an audience is losing focus and asks to “wrap things up.” This occurs anytime you are given/told a time constraint.
  2. Analyst frame: This type relies on logic, facts, and figures. This frame is commonly found when working with people from technical backgrounds.

And, then you have four other response frames:

  1. Power busting frame: When you accept the power being exerted around you, then you reinforce that power frame, which is what you need to avoid.  You need to take the power frame away and let your audience know you are in charge as you present.  A small act of denial or defiance with a hint of humor is the suggested way to take back the frame.
  1. Time constraining frame: You can defeat this time frame if you stop it before it happens or counter it by showing that you also are on a tight time constraint.  Your time is just as important as their time and you can counter their 20 minute limit by saying you have to be out of their in 15 minutes instead.  Always be a step ahead.
  1. Intrigue frame: When people start interrupting and analyzing your presentation, interrupt by telling your audience a short personal story that interrupts the target’s analytical thinking and replaces their train of thought completely as they become intrigued with your story.  Don’t finish the story or deliver the hook point immediately.  It will leave them a little disoriented at first, but then they will hold on to every word of the remainder of your presentation hoping that you will reveal the ending, but you won’t!
  1. Prize frame: When you own the frame, people react to you. Your “prize” is the target’s attention, investment, etc. and you want the target to have to work to earn the “prize” of your respect.  Your audience should have to earn your attention.  You can use this strategy with any opposing frame that threatens to lower your status and overpower your frame.

In conclusion, it is essential to have your target audience engaged and listening to your presentation.  Controlling your frame and overpowering the frame of your target is all about status.  In your presentation to pitch your product, service, or company, it is important to control the floor and this STRONG method that involves controlling frames helps you temporally acquire situational control.  These frames described exhibit what you are up against as a speaker as well as explain how to counter them to regain control and master the delivery of your pitch in any situation.


Reference: Klaff, Oren. Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading and Winning the Deal. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. Print.
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Erica Martin

Business Developer at Beekast

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