By Alexia Leachman
The idea of having A PITCH is a bit outdated now. By that I mean one single pitch. A bit like the idea of your elevator pitch; that one-liner that is usually delivered in well-rehearsed but wooden manner. Some networking organisations still encourage this approach and force everyone to take turns in humiliating themselves in this manner. What they fail to realise is that we are in the age of relationships, connections and conversations. So a one-pitch-fits-all approach is not going to work. Instead, you need to think about your pitch in conversational terms. For me, this means that it needs to include a narrative and sound like YOU speaking, even if it’s written. But more than that, it’s worth preparing for the various types of conversations whereby the opportunity to share your pitch may arise. I recently attended a fabulous event about becoming a Key Person of Influence and they too talk of these different pitches.
Imagine you’re at a wedding, or some other social event where you may be meeting people from all sorts of walks of like and where the focus is fun and laughter rather than collecting business cards. In these situations, it is very likely that at some point you’ll be asked what you do. In this context coming out with a pitch that sounds overly sales-y or in your face probably won’t go down well.
However, if you can share what you do in a way that engages and intrigues then you are more likely to be in a position to be starting a conversation, rather than a simple exchange of job titles. The longer the conversation continues, the more likely you are to be able to share more fully your story, but also to build a meaningful connection. And it’s meaningful connections that are more likely to refer or recommend you.
The professional pitch is one that might be shared at professional events such as conferences or networking events. In this environment you might have some clues as to the type of individuals that you’re mingling with. If so, this will help you to bring out the most relevant aspects of your personal pitch. If you’re not sure then spend the first part of any interaction with someone new asking them about themselves. This is a great idea for two reasons; firstly, you’ll come across as someone who takes an interest in others and you’ll make them feel great. Secondly, they’ll provide you with lots of clues that can help you to ensure that you craft a pitch in that moment that is as relevant to them as possible.
The pitching-the-pitch pitch
This is the daddy-O of your pitches. This is the one that you’ll spend ages crafting and practising. Why? Because you’ll be delivering this one when it really counts; when pitching for investment, for a new contract or job, or maybe that chance encounter in an elevator with Richard Branson! What makes this pitch different is that you’re likely to know our audience and what they’re looking for or what they want to hear. So this makes it much easier to pull together and prepare. And for once, you get the chance to practise delivering it after all; it’s not just WHAT you say, but HOW you say it. You’ll want to sound confident and assured, and if you’re not, it’ll be obvious.
About the author
Alexia Leachman is a Personal Brand Coach and Head Trash Liberator at Blossoming Brands. She helps entrepreneurs find their mojo by helping them to clear their head trash, tell their story, raise their profile, build their digital presence and manage their reputation. You can find out more at www.blossomingbrands.com www.headtrash.co.uk And you can follow her on Twitter at @AlexiaL and @BBrands .