The Art of the Pitch...


The mark of an effective communicator is someone who can take a complex idea and convey it with simplicity, brevity and credibility. So, what’s the secret to becoming an effective communicator? Well it’s really more of an art than it is a science; and it demands an appreciation of the multiple dimensions through which we communicate.

As humans, we use five primary senses to gather information, including sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. In business, public speaking or political campaigns, sight and hearing are the two senses people most commonly use to size you up, so to speak.


Let’s take entrepreneurs for example. Not only must they sell their ideas or business concepts, they must also sell themselves as credible champions of their ventures. Potential investors, partners or customers will scrutinize the idea objectively but will evaluate the individual much more subjectively.


What you say, how you look, your hand-shake, as well as your body language combine to create the “perfect pitch” – a clear, concise and accurate presentation of the business idea or innovation. Or, they could result in the perfect disaster. The fact is, if you can’t tell someone about your idea quickly, professionally and in simple terms, it’s either too complicated or it’s just a “half-baked” idea.


Typically, entrepreneurs practice their pitches so they can describe their ventures in about sixty seconds. The notion is that you have to be ready for any opportunity that might arise to sell someone your idea. For example, you meet a potential investor in an elevator and you only have a minute of their undivided attention before the elevator stops and the doors open.


During that elevator ride you’ll have an opportunity to be heard and observed. How you’re dressed, how you project, your attitude, body language, demeanor and even how you smell can influence the effectiveness of your pitch. These visual components get communicated within the first few seconds. The words you choose are important but they are only part of the pitch, and they always follow the visual cues.


To some this might sound superficial, or even trivial. It’s not. And, others might tell you it’s only the substance of the idea or the business model that really matters. They’re wrong.


The visual elements contained within any human interaction are powerful influencers, especially during initial meetings. Fused with spoken words, visuals provide important hints, either consciously or subconsciously, to whether the words are authentic and can be trusted.


Crafting the words and honing the timing can be perfected through practice. But to optimize your projection, attitude and body language, I’d recommend having others provide a critique or seek advice from a professional presentation coach.


Next, to achieve the perfect power-look, find a “personal uniform” that works for you. It’s different for everyone, but there are many basic items of clothing and color that accent your best features and minimize anything that’s not so flattering.


Remember, the pitch gets you in the door. As my wife Lynda, who has been a visual communicator for most of her career, often says “when you enter a room, you must own it.” So your ability to communicate with both “wardrobe and words” doesn’t end with the elevator pitch. You carry it into the room and it becomes a part of your personal brand as you transform yourself into a successful entrepreneur and your idea into a viable commercial or social enterprise.

Source: LinkedIn

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John Robitaille: Success, Leadership and Communication

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