How to pitch an idea

How do you pitch an idea?  The author, Scott Berkun suggests some interesting suggestions and tips. Ideas are used to pitch when there is a there is a need for change.  Is the audience ready for the message?  If so, Mr. Berkun suggests the following:

1) What is the scope of the idea?  In past pitches, how have people pitched this idea or ideas that were similar?  

2) Who has the power to approve of the idea?  Seek the influential people who can implement the idea, and if not, seek people that know these influentials.  Working backwards to present to those people maybe the best method to reach the influentials.

3) Start with their perspectives.  Tailor your message to align with their interests.  Here is a great quote: “The most powerful person in the organization might share none of your philosophy, but the 3rd or 4th most powerful person might. The latter is going to be a better place to start.

4) The structure of the pitch:  First develop a pitch that is 5 seconds in length.  This needs to draw maximum attention with minimal time.  Keep refining your idea until it is short, concise and to the point.  If this is successful, a 30 second pitch will be needed. This second pitch contains two or three ideas that support the first pitch.   Finally a 5 minute pitch, similar to the 30 second pitch, contains ideas from the 5 second pitch.  Often during presentations, the 5 second, 30 second and 5 minute pitches are presented in sequential order.   Being able to have more than one person involved in a pitch is advantageous because of the potential synergies realized resulting from the different ideas, perspectives and styles. 

5) Test the pitch.  It is important to test this pitch with different people (friends, coworkers, etc.), who could bring their different ideas and perspectives to refine the pitch.

6) Delivering the pitch. Engage in active listening with the intended audience.  Anticipate their concerns, be proactive and prepare accordingly.

7)  What to do when the pitch fails.  What were the actual and perceived mistakes?  What can be done next time to prevent this?  Ask for feedback with people that were present during the pitch.  With these lessons learned, there is a possibility to re-pitch the idea to other areas of the organization.  Perhaps breaking the idea into smaller parts is needed to re-pitch.

8) Do it yourself.  If others do not believe in your idea(s), it is possible after much revision to implement the idea(s) yourself.  That is how many entrepreneurs started their businesses.

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One response to “How to pitch an idea

  1. Pingback: Jon Steel interview « Ideas make the world go round

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