Two jobs were offered to me when I learned how to pitch. I’m not kidding. All it took was to learn what I am about (granted that’s hard to find out!) and to get comfortable with speaking up at unprepared moments. Then I just had to show up at a fair and a business meeting and share my confined story with key people. And now I’m a believer. Read along for some precious tips on pitching.
Spotify tip while reading this post:
Pitching and business
A few years ago pitching was part of my job. I worked at an animation agency in Rotterdam called Funk-e and we created animation videos that explain complex topics clearly in just 75 seconds. I wrote video scripts that were easy to understand and fun. My sources: vague-speaking managers and super-detailed experts, together making for a giant heap of unstructured information. I remember working my way through briefings on the function of white blood cells, chemical consistency of paint, and business models for brand new smartphone apps. And it was my job to distill the core from each communicative mess.
To understand how challenging this is, try to explain your own job in just 75 seconds. Beginning 3-2-1, now! Now worries if you can’t, there are only few people who can pull this off unprepared. Yet this is the central idea of pitching: your authentic story laid out in the time-span of an elevator-ride. If said in a confident way, a good pitch can convince your manager to upgrade you, adopt your ideas, or consider you for a job opening. So work that message.
Help for pitching can be found online, of course. But as a gesture of friendly loyalty to my previous employer I’d like to share that Funk-e also offers workshops on pitching. You can find their story at www.Pitch-e.nl.
Pitching and socializing
It’s inspiring to see other people pitch. At 42 Workspace, for example: a new beehive for tech start ups in Rotterdam that hangs out at the corner of Schievest and Witte de Withstraat. The organizer of the evenings is the Awesome Foundation Rotterdam. (Funny coincidence: Funk-e is part of the holding Empire of Awesome. What is it with pitching and doing awesome things?) With free beer, brandy tasting, and iced tea for everyone (all sponsored), each pitch evening lets four contestants pitch ideas for making Rotterdam ‘more awesome’. You can participate and win € 1.000. With some brutal honesty it could slip off my tongue that not all pitches are mind-blowing. But what is ALWAYS mind-blowing, is the creativity of ideas being pitched and the energy of the pitchers involved.
What’s more, guests mingle, networks expand, and lots of techies get their social-fix for the day. A good environment to hang out, meet new people, and craft ideas.
See some proof and their schedule at https://www.facebook.com/AwesomeFoundationRotterdam. If you know who I am, you can find my photo in the album of the tenth edition 😉
Pitching in a nutshell
Through my job and lots of practice I have learned this: a good pitch is brief, to the point, and authentic. SO brief, that listeners can memorize it in one single time. Difficult words that are meant-to-impress do not serve that purpose, so you leave them out. Your message is SO much to the point, that no detail escapes your mouth: that’ll only confuse. And your pitch is so damn authentic that the echo of your voice will haunt your target’s brainspace for days. Muhaha!
Sounds easy, but truth is..pitching is pretty hard. It asks of you to stick to the headlines and for that, you need to skip everything else. But take a listen around at any office and you know: most people take the backstreets when telling a story. Cut the crap, save the details for your grandmother, and drive the highway. Pitch your heart out. And may the force be with those who pitch well!