1. Make your pitch about your audience, not about you. Approach a pitch as a conversationalist, not a speaker, and connect to the world view, experience and emotion of your audience.
2. Improve eye contact. Sure, you want to lock eyes with the decision maker in the room, but you also want to connect with everyone else. Spend time gazing for several seconds at each person. Make it a meaningful but not uncomfortable amount of time.
3. Be human. It's better to be a little self-deprecatory or to flub a line than to come across as too slick. People want to know they're with an authentic, personable peer.
4. Know your stuff. I can't believe how many people have come to me to interview for a job, sell services or pitch an idea without doing any homework about me or my organization - and without even being able to articulate their own merits concisely. Prepare and rehearse before you pitch.
5. Make one big point. Everything you say leads to that conclusion. Everything else gets edited out. This is far harder than it sounds. In fact, if you had to quickly scribble on a notecard the one, clear overarching point of your last pitch, could you do it in seconds? If not, you probably didn't have the overarching story pinpointed. Stick to that sole truth and sell it with great passion. It's how we connect - and how we get remembered.
Katya Andresen is the COO and CSO at Network for Good