How to pitch
If you think pitching is just for baseball, then you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Whether you’re trying to get funding, get a job or get a role, then you need to be able to pitch. The same basic rules apply for interviews, auditions and business pitches. So, learn them now and get ahead of the competition…
Stand and deliver
Don’t just sit and chat about your project; this is a pitch, not a normal meeting.
Prepare, prepare and prepare some more
As Amanda White, IdeasTap’s Strategic Development Director and judging panel stalwart puts it, “Show us that you’ve done some preparation. If there is more than one person making the pitch, discuss who will say what, when and how, beforehand.”
If you can, film your pitch and watch it back. Alternatively, try your pitch out in front of friends and family to get their feedback. Also, think of all the questions you might be asked, and prepare your answers. The more you do, the tighter, better and more convincing it will become.
As Rebecca Baldwin – who successfully pitched her Shoot It Yourself wedding video business on last year’s Dragon’s Den – says, doing your homework will boost your confidence. “I get very nervous, but I just made sure that I knew what I was talking about. Don’t just learn it parrot fashion – make sure you really understand what you’re saying.”
Set the scene
Just listening to someone talking can get a bit boring, so bring something in that gives a flavour and feel of your work. If you’re pitching music, bring some in for the panel to hear. If your work involves food, bring some in to taste. If you’re an animator or filmmaker, show some of your showreel. Don’t go overboard – this isn’t a show – but a few appropriate props or visual aids can make all the difference.
“I would definitely take in some visual branding – it’s key to what you do,” says Rebecca. “People will start to recognise the look, the colours, and remember you that way.”
The devil is in the detail
When making a pitch, you should have information about budgets, schedules, marketing and costs to hand.
“You need to know all your facts and figures,” says Rebecca. “If you know your product or project and you know what you’re selling, then you shouldn’t really have a problem answering questions.”
If you are pitching to IdeasTap, we will want to know that your project is achievable. As Amanda puts it, “When it comes to budget, we just want to know if it’s realistic.”
Show your passion
“You’ve only got a very limited time to convince these people,” says Shoot It Yourself’s Rebecca. “So, if you come across as concise and on the ball, but also passionate, then they’re going to think you’re worth investing in.”
Don’t go over time
Whether you’ve been given 10 minutes or 10 seconds, deliver your pitch in the time you were given. As Rebecca says, “You have to get your idea across in that time, otherwise people will start to lose interest.”
Be clear – don’t get lost
“We get a lot of people with devised projects who sort of get lost in the threads of what they find intriguing about the process,” says Amanda. “But what we, as a panel, want to know is, what is this? How will it look, what is it about, how will I feel when I see it and why are you doing it?”
As a guideline, you should be able to do your elevator pitch in just a couple of sentences.
Don’t be fooled by a friendly, warm, welcoming atmosphere; a pitch is still a professional exercise. You need to strike the balance between being relaxed and being serious.
“We’re looking for collaborators; people we want to work with,” says Amanda. “So, we want people who can take direction, can be open to ideas but also be clear in what they want to do.”
As Rebecca says, “If you can come across as calm and collected as possible, that takes you a long way.”
So there you are: be prepared, be charming, be professional and be on the ball. Now go out there and seal the deal.
via How to pitch.