04 Jun For The Love Of The Pitch
You’re prepared. You know your story inside out. You know what you’ve got to say makes sense and if you can just find the right tempo, pitch, timbre and rhythm, you can change the world.
Your name is called and you step out on to the stage. You’ve got that familiar buzz, that feeling that makes time speed up and slow down all at the same time. You pause. You breathe. You raise your eyes to address the audience that sits restlessly, waiting to hear what you’ve got to say. Your pitch begins.
If you’ve never had an opportunity to stand in front of an audience and pitch/sell/convince them that what you’ve got to say matters and draw them in to your world just for a few minutes, wow, you’ve got to try it. It’s a mixture of nerves and excitement all bottled into one and if you find the magic, it can be so cool.
I’ve just spent the evening watching and listening to the Auckland Lightning Lab Demo Day Pitches – the Lightning Lab is a 12 week startup business accelerator programme that runs across NZ main centres a few times a year. Apart from being wowed by a couple of the companies, I was downright jealous I couldn’t get up there and have my 10 minutes pitching the audience on my latest interest and passion. Why? Well, what better way to test your understanding and belief in an idea than attempt to convince a room full of strangers that it’s worth their time.
The power of the pitch should not be underestimated and if the right blend of story-telling, evidence, vision and passion are swirled together, magic can happen. You can convince people of almost anything. You can make them believers by bringing them into your world, helping them see the world as you do and make them want to see more.
Perhaps its the influence one has when pitching that I love. I think that’s part of it. More importantly I think what a great pitch does, like a great movie, is it suspends disbelief. The audience stops checking their phones, stops fidgeting in their seats and stops thinking about dinner or last nights date. They come into your world and its from this place that it is possible to change things, tweak things and bend the rules. Once the pitch is over, the audience, again like after watching a great movie, will never look at the world the same way again.
The pitch is the art of the change-maker. The person that believes the world can be different and can be better. In order to create a brave new world, they use the magic of story-telling in the form of a pitch.
So, if you believe in something big or small and you want to change the world, don’t sit down to write out another business case – that comes later. Pull out a napkin or a scratch pad, start with a beginning, middle and end and sketch out the story that paints a picture of the world you see and go and tell that story. Do it for the love of the pitch, trust me you’ll have a blast.