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Stop talking and start demonstrating

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When you only have a few seconds to make a lasting impression, actions can speak louder than words.

After Jason Curry invented a device to help deaf people communicate, he wanted to enlist the help of an influential entrepreneur named Jason Fried. So he showed up at an event that he knew Fried would attend.

Yet rather than introduce himself to Fried and make a quick elevator speech, Curry took a different tack: He demonstrated his invention.

Curry came up to Fried and presented him with an electronic device that looked like a laptop computer. Then Curry unlatched the device so that it split into two identical parts.

“The series of precise, deliberate steps made it feel like a magic trick,” Fried says. “I didn’t know what was going on, but I was transfixed.”

Next, Curry showed Fried that each of the two parts of the device became tiny screens attached to a keyboard. He typed a message in his half of the machine—and it appeared instantly in Fried’s screen.

Within minutes, the two strangers were bonding over a real-time yet wordless conversation. They took turns typing messages to each other.

Through their exchanges, Fried learned that Curry was deaf and created the device to communicate with others. He called it the UbiDuo.

Like any good presenter, Curry ended with a call to action. He typed that he wanted Fried as a mentor, and they shook hands to seal the new relationship.

“The guy had made an amazing pitch without even pitching,” Fried says. “He didn’t tell me about his product, he showed me.”

—Adapted from “The Perfect Pitch,” Jason Fried, www.inc.com.

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