Preparing Your Persuasive Pitch
If you are a start-up vying for investors, trying to get support from customers, or seeking business opportunities, preparing your persuasive pitch is crucial to demonstrating your idea and getting the traction you need. One of the biggest reasons a presentation fails, is because the presenter doesn’t understand the mindset of the audience and fails to persuade them. Some key questions to ask are listed below to better understand your audience.
STEP 1: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
- Who are you trying to persuade?
- What do you know about them? (ongoing assumptions, current knowledge about the topic, etc.)
- What are their priorities/goals?
- What keeps them up at night?
- What information does the audience need to make a decision?
- What questions do you anticipate?
- Is there is a hot button issue that may arise? How will you respond?
Once you better understand your audience, you can observe patterns and trends in the their experiences, cut through the clutter, and simplify your pitch.
STEP 2: ESTABLISH CREDIBILITY
Your credibility grows out of two sources below.
Expertise – When you have a history of well-informed, sound judgment, your colleagues trust your expertise.
Relationships – If you’ve demonstrated that you can work in the best interest of others, your colleagues will have confidence in your relationships. Networking and small talk “in the hallway” can go far.
If you are weak on the expertise side, bolster your position by the following:
- How can you find in-house experts in your industry?
- Where can you hire recognized outside experts?
- Have you considered launching a pilot?
To fill in the relationship gap and succeed at preparing your persuasive pitch, try meeting one-on-one with key people and involving like-minded co-workers who have good support and a solid network with your audience. Think about ways to supplement or enhance your expertise. Think of ideas to utilize your network to support your pitch.
STEP 3: FRAME GOALS ON COMMON GROUND
- What do you want your audience to DO after hearing your pitch?
- For example, if you are pitching a new responsibility or role, what small action can you take to move in that direction (a stretch assignment, mentorship, job shadow, etc.)?
STEP 4: VIVIDLY REINFORCE YOUR POSITION
Use storytelling, metaphors, and examples to make your story more compelling and connect emotionally with the audience.
What makes a successful case ‘story’?
- The 5 Ws – Who, what, why, when, and where
- Make it personal, told from the point of view of the subject
- Use real quotes, verbatim dialogue
- Concrete stories are easier to understand and remember
- In business storytelling, you have to tell them the message of the story
Remember, after 2-3 minutes of a presentation, you have to change something up. This could be the style of delivery, interactivity, such as asking a question, or sharing what problem you are solving and how how you will be solving it. Otherwise, you risk losing your audience.