Friday, December 28, 2012

Guest Blog by Katya Andresen

5 ways to nail your next pitch

Katya Andresen
One of my end-of year traditions is to use any downtime to catch up on reading. I wanted to share some advice from the latest book I read, The Art of the Pitch. This quick and motivating read from the legendary ad guy Peter Coughter, who now teaches at the VCU Brandcenter, reminds us how just how critical it is to master persuasion and presentation skills. Whatever your line of work, you will be more successful when you know how to nail your pitch.
So here are 5 ways to do just that, from The Art of the Pitch

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

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