5 Tips on How to Pitch from Argo

movie argo, tony mendez ciamovie argo, president jimmy carter, tony mendez ciaAs is the case for most of us, I’m busy!  So, I am “always” behind on watching movies.

A friend bought me the Argo movie and I absolutely loved it.  Argo is about the 1979 take over of the US embassy in Iran.  I was 13 back then and in high school.  I remember the story well.

What I love the most is the documentary that follows the film credits.  The CIA agent Tony Mendez shared his strategy for selling the State Department on his Argo movie idea.  His strategy can be used by any business leader who is trying to sell a pitch.

Here are 5 Tips:

  1. Know what they read
    • Study what the decision makers read.  In Mendez’s case, the decision makers read the cables.  He stated that instead of sending a memorandum, he sent a 16 page pitch via cable since that gets read by everyone.
  2. Cite every possible idea
    • City every idea that has floated around and then list their weaknesses.  Lastly, list your idea and its strengths.
  3. Cite the urgency
    • In the Argo case, the Canadians were getting tired of taking care of the six (6) US foreign service workers that escaped the US embassy in Iran.  They were house guests of the Canadians and put the Canadians at substantial risk of harm.
  4. Give a deadline
    • Always tell the decision makers when you expect a decision; or when you will be following up with them.
  5. Get your gut feeling up above 90%
    • The other fascinating tip that Tony Mendez shared was that when he went to Iran to rescue the six (6) US house guests, he had to get his gut feeling up above 90%.  He said you should double check yourself if your feeling is below 90%.  For those of us in sales, we experience this gut feeling at “show time”.  You have to have a stomach of steel and the guts to really put yourself all the way out there to sell your ideas, products, and services.

by Clovia Hamilton, President

Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.



Written by

Clovia Hamilton is an entrepreneur with 30 years of professional work experience as an adjunct biz law & ethics professor, university technology transfer specialist, engineer and planner. Clovia is a licensed patent attorney and completed an Executive MBA at Wesleyan College. Her next pursuit is a Phd in Mangt and she supports The Phd Project, American Association of University Women (AAUW), and Women in Public Policy (WIPP)! Clovia has trained hundreds of business owners since 1999 when she began to assist the Univ of IL in Champaign with faculty high tech start ups. She has also assisted hundreds of small biz owners by training them on how to get government grants and contracts.

7 Comments to “5 Tips on How to Pitch from Argo”

  1. Roxy says:

    Very interesting article. I have seen the movie myself and never really thought about it in this way until reading your article. I find it so interesting what others can take from a movie and turn into something that relates in a similar way.

    • Clovia says:

      Thanks Roxy! I am always “on” – – thinking about how to improve my business. So, when I go to movies, I always think about what business lessons I can learn from them. Alot of my blog posts are movie and TV related. Be sure to check them out!

  2. Mike says:

    Hey, first time checking out your blog and I like your writing style! It’s very down to earth and understandable from the layman’s point of view. Thanks for these tips and I hope to see more from you in the future!

  3. nirmal says:

    that was good.These five instructions seems very useful.this will create an awareness.the point ‘Always tell the decision makers when you expect a decision; or when you will be following up with them’ is very important among them.

  4. Bills says:

    Sounds like reasonable advice, but for the last bit, any tips on how exactly to get one’s ‘gut feeling’ up, and also does it refer to a hunch the idea will be successful or just resolve?

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