pitch or not to pitch

Pitch or not to pitch, that’s the question!

Rule #1: we all pitch, everyday; period! No matter if you are a salesperson, an entrepreneur, or a housewife, everyday we need to convince people to do something, from investing one million in your company to convincing your child to take an umbrella to school. Pitching = convincing.

Taking for granted that what you are trying to sell is reasonable/ necessary/ appropriate for that audience, pitching techniques will help you to convey the message in the best way. That takes us to Rule #2: pitching is form, not content.

Rule #3: pitching is not tricking. In some cultures, salespeople (together with lawyers) are seeing as “deceptive devils in suits” and, in fact, some people do deserve that feeling; there are bad people in all professions. Pitching techniques are not about that. They are made so you can summarize your business/ idea/ product in a very short timespan, in a way to maximize understanding. That’s all. Bad businesses will still be bad, even after a good presentation.

That takes us to a critical question: what makes someone good at pitching? It’s not a gift or art, as some narcisistics like to think. Rule #4: pitching is about process/ structure, not a gift. You can and should develop those skills; it’s part of the job, whether you like it or not. You don’t have to be a natural outspoken person (it helps, though). You can engineer each step of presentation and even explore some of your own challenges to bring audience to you. In one startup competition I participated there was this founder with a cool new service but he was terrified of speaking in public; to make matter worse, he didn’t speak English…and the whole conference and pitches were in English. He had, though, a lot of charisma. He started the presentation saying: “Hello, my name is John* and I’m the Founder of X. My english is bad, but my business skills are awesome”. Boom! He managed to generate empathy from start, so the audience would go an extra mile hearing him as he (tediously and awfully) read his presentation from a piece of paper. It’s not ideal, but given the scenario he accomplished his goal.

Rule #5: you are playing the game, no matter if you want to. So you’d better be good at it! Complaining won’t help it; you have got to get good at it. What usually happens is that people that suck the most at pitching are the ones spending the less time trying to improve it. It just doesn’t make sense. As all the other parts of your business you need to work on; to invest time developing the skills.

Luckily for you, now there is Million dollar Pitches! On this blog we will bring real life lessons to help you get prepared. We will share resources, templates, tips and all sorts of cool stuff. I hope to have convinced you!

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