Paul Boross, The Pitch Doctor, looks at the key element of a successful pitch.
We are living in a competitive world, and to survive and thrive, you must have a competitive advantage.
Your competitive advantage is not to be found in your products, your prices or even your people.
Your competitive advantage rests entirely on your ability to communicate your ideas.
Your competitors can afford people who are just as creative and productive as yours. They have access to the same raw materials, technologies and resources.
What matters most is who gets their ideas across first, and who gets their ideas across most effectively.
I’ve been ‘pitching’ for 25 years, anything from TV shows to corporate training programs., and from songs to business proposals. During all the ups and downs, I’ve learned what works and, just as importantly, what doesn’t.
I’ve gone in with what I thought was a unique idea, only to find that someone had beaten me to it. I’ve also held back on an idea because I thought it was obvious, only to find that I would have been months ahead of my competitors.
Succesful ideas are rarely the best or even the first. They were simply the best pitched.
Right now, all over the world, your competitors are having the same ideas as you. All that matters is who gets those ideas to market first.
Your ideas may or may not be unique, yet the opportunity to pitch those ideas is definitely unique.
It doesn’t matter how clever you think your angle is, how slick you think your presentation is or how catchy you think your punchline is. The pitch doesn’t need to be ‘good’ in your mind, it needs to be effective in the client’s.
Every product started as an idea, a thought in someone’s mind. Thousands or even millions of people had the same idea, and one of those ideas became a reality. Not because it was the best idea, but because its creator had the courage and confidence to share it.
Developing your pitching skills will not make your ideas any better. It won’t make your product or business plan right for your audience. I won’t make your numbers add up any differently. It won’t even make you have your ideas any sooner, although with more confidence, you might well find yourself pitching your ideas much sooner than you would have done otherwise, and that gives you a competitive advantage.
Learning how to improve your pitching skills will certainly help you to get your ideas across more effectively, and because of that, your ideas will reach a wider audience more clearly and easily, and that will definitely improve your chances of success.
It disappoints me when I hear people say, “Send me your presentation”, because your presentation is not to be found within a set of computer slides.
The presentation or pitch can only be experienced, it can only come from you. Your pitch can only be found within the conviction and passion that you feel when you talk about something that is truly important to you.
You are the message. You are the product. You are the pitch.
Reproduced with permission from CGW Publishing.
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