Pitching, love it or loathe it, will play a part in most people’s lives. The very mention of the word will cause some to profusely perspire but inspire others to embrace their extroverted alter-ego. Others will take the whole process in their stride and relish the opportunity.
It is a fact of life that we all have certain characteristics, strengths and weaknesses, and some will be more confident when pitching than others. Here’s the dirty secret however… even if you’re trembling inside, present a confident exterior and nobody will be able to tell the difference.
I think that confidence often comes from having faith in your content. If you have done your research and know what you are talking about then this will hopefully manifest itself in to a smooth pitch. Unfortunately there will always be those frustrating characters who can ‘wing it’ no matter what but don’t let their manner dictate your own preparation.
Make an effort to know the people that you are pitching to. Some will be very happy to discuss the weekend’s football for 20 minutes before business talk creeps in yet others will favour the direct approach and merely be interested in what you have to say from a pitching perspective. The premise is simple; mirror those who you are pitching to and your chances of success dramatically improve. For the most part, people like to make a human connection and the above along with perhaps an injection of humour, if deemed necessary, can give you the edge.
Honesty and integrity can often feel like modern day buzzwords but if genuine they can count for a lot. When you’re asked a question, answer it directly, neither party enjoys indirectness and believe me it is very obvious when you are doing it. If a certain area isn’t your expertise, be up front about it. Over-selling yourself or your company in a pitch will only lead to a failure to match expectations further down the line.
And finally, take on board all advice and feedback you receive. Everyone has the ability to be a pitch master. Yes, it will come more naturally to some, but taking heed from those with those more experienced in the realm can be hugely beneficial. Practice, be bold and assertive and with modern day life throwing up new problems all the time, ensure the pitch ain’t one.