There are many situations in which you have to sell yourself or sell your project. It happens in job interviews, networking events, and other circumstances when it’s appropriate for you to talk about who you are and what you might be able to offer.
Sometimes, these occasions can come about unexpectedly. So, how can you prepare the perfect pitch for whatever you want to share with others?
Brevity allows you to focus on the most important elements of your proposal. It forces you to trim down the fat and present the core of the idea or the information. It shows respect for the person’s time and is also much more likely to lead to a successful pitch, because people can easily lose the thread of a long proposition or get bored with it, even if it is ultimately a good idea or the right fit.
Work on your pitch beforehand to trim it down and create a manageable proposal that you can use if the opportunity arises.
Don’t waste time on general words or concepts that don’t describe anything in particular. Focus on specific details, especially those that reflect the core distinctions between what you can offer and what others can offer. Draw attention to what’s unique and special about you and your own ideas.
If you are talking about yourself, avoid words like “good communicator” or “attentive to details.” These are general, vague terms that anyone could throw out. Offer examples or specifics, for example, achievements or expertise that shows your abilities.
Use narrative elements
There are ways to strengthen your pitch. Add a story, if you can, or metaphors and similes to make it more powerful. Use imagery that can help you transmit your ideas in a way that’s easy to imagine and easy to connect with. Use at least one element that appeals to emotion, such as an image, a story, or a memorable detail.
Introduce a brief anecdote or example to support what you are saying and that can stay with the listener for a long time, as stories are better remembered that any other sort of data.
Center the facts
If you have measurable facts and numbers, it helps to include them in the pitch. Offer evidence of your accomplishments or past experience, as this can help your pitch feel more convincing. Numbers and statistics give it a solid foundation and also help engage the person on a deeper cognitive level, as they might see it as something more significant and with more weight.
You don’t need to overload your pitch with numbers, as people are unlikely to remember them all. Offer an important figure.
Focus on what you can offer
Everyone has their own interests, so it’s important to remember that you are not owed their time or attention. Approaching someone with entitlement is a sure way to lose them. Instead, try to examine your pitch through their eyes. What’s the advantage to hiring you or accepting your project? Why should they select you, how will it benefit them, their cause, or their organization? This is a central element of any pitch.
What’s interesting, new, useful, or important about what you can offer? Put yourself in the position of the other person and consider what they might expect to hear or what they are looking for.
Practice and refine
Pitching is not easy, as it can take a while to learn how to best present your ideas. Practice it. Ask friends to help you and pitch to them. Take note of their feedback. Take opportunities to pitch in other situations as well, like practice interviews or professional events.
It’s OK if you don’t get it right the first time, you can always improve the way in which you present it. Refine the pitch and see how other people frame themselves and their ideas.
Don’t be the one to doubt your ideas or your worth. Be confident in how you frame yourself and show that you trust your skills. If you don’t, how can other people trust you? Be your supporter and show that you have passion for what you do.
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