Thanks to those who attended the sold out (70) HR Breakfast held last week on How to Pitch and Idea. It was great to see familiar faces as well as those attending the HR Breakfast series for the first time.
Make sure you hold the next date (Nov 26). Further details to follow shortly. If you haven’t subscribed to our newsletter, please send us a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make sure you are kept up-to-date with our next Breakfast details.
Following are some tips prepared by Dean Tuckey as a wrap-up to the breakfast on Pitching/presenting an idea.
- How to Pitch an Idea
- Preparing Your Pitch
- Know Your Purpose
It’s important to be clear about the purpose of your pitch. A clear purpose gives you focus through the preparation phase. It guides you as to what should be in the pitch and what should be left out. Three helpful questions are:
- What do you want them to think?
- What do you want them to feel?
- What do you want them to do?
Know Your Audience
The first question is about the level of knowledge the audience has with regards to the content of your pitch. You need to pitch at a level your audience will understand. If the audience can’t understand your pitch, they can’t buy-in. Most people over-pitch rather than under-pitch.
The second question is about motivation. How important is the content of your pitch to your audience. Importance tends to correlate with impact. The higher the potential impact (positive or negative) on your audience the more important it will be to them and therefore the more motivated they will be to understand your pitch.
When the audience has the motivation and the ability to understand your pitch they are more likely to evaluate your pitch using ‘systematic processing’ – that is detailed analysis of the content and the data. When motivation and/or ability to process are low your audience will tend to use ‘heuristic processing’ – that is use of peripheral cues to make quick judgements about the merits of your pitch i.e. your appearance, likeability, confidence and sheer volume of information.
Structure Your Pitch
Remember the rule of 3’s. It is no coincidence that there were three blind mice, three little pigs and that it was Goldilocks and the three bears. Research shows that our working memory is only capable of holding about three ideas at a time. Plan your pitch around three key ideas.
Delivering Your Pitch
Catch-em From the Start.
People are time-poor and are eager to get to the next thing. The other point is that people have a relatively short attention span – much shorter than we think. We need to catch-em from the start. Your start can appeal to two different aspects which reflect the different motivations to engage with your content; utility or curiosity.
- Utility – use a utility style of beginning when the content of pitch has direct and tangible benefits to the audience.
- Curiosity – use the curiosity approach when the direct benefits are less tangible or non-existent to your audience.
Consider starting with a quote, story, compelling statistic, question, video clip or activity.
Earlier we discussed people’s limited ability to manage and hold ideas in working memory. The more multi-sensory you can make your pitch the better. Visuals are a great way to anchor information and to maximise the chances of conversion to long-term memory.
Linked to using visuals, the more you can involve your audience the more likely they are to remember the pitch. In addition when you involve the audience, subconsciously they are making small commitments and agreements to the ideas in your pitch. Find ways for them to interact with your pitch.
Closing Your Pitch
Ask for What You Want
This is not the time to be shy. Be specific and ask for exactly what you want. When you are speaking to a sympathetic audience it can be good to ask for what you want at the beginning of your presentation. When the audience needs to be ‘won over’ it can be more beneficial to ask at the end. These are guidelines and not hard and fast rules.
Anchor the Numbers
We unconsciously make comparisons when hearing numbers. The default comparison tends to be zero unless we present another number to the audience. So it can be advantageous to provide other numbers before presenting your number. For example if your pitch is asking for an investment of $5,000 then mentioning other more expensive options earlier in your pitch sets an anchor higher than what you will ask for. Now when you mention $5,000 it appears comparatively inexpensive.
Use the Power of Concession
We are biologically wired to reciprocate like behaviour. We want to act in cooperative ways. It therefore can pay to have a ‘back-up offer’ if they turn down your first request. When you concede and accept their refusal, but then make another offer they are biologically wired to concede and accept your second proposal.