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Jumpstart: How to Make an Impact During Your Pitch

Jumpstart: Make an Impact

Influencing the Yes

As part of our new Jumpstart campaign, we offer some pointers for making a great pitch. Today, we talk about “Impact”. No matter if you’re pitching a Fortune 500 company, your own executive team, or a room of investors, any great pitch needs to leave a big, favorable impression on the audience. Be sure they’re nodding their heads “yes” after you leave the room, and solidify your place on the short list. Answer these 5 questions before your pitch to effect a positive impact on your audience:

1) Who’s listening and what matters most to them?

Know who’s in the room. Individuals in your audience will always have unique concerns or pain points they want addressed. A CEO wants to know about the bottom line; The CFO cares about cost; The investor is looking at growth potential, and so on. Address these concerns during the pitch—before they ask a question—and you will make a definitive impact, and guarantee your place in the finals.

2) Are you excited and passionate about your pitch?

If you’re not letting your audience know through voice and body movements that what you have to say is exciting and great, they’ll get bored and lose interest. You must believe in your pitch with your heart and soul, and prove it in your delivery.

3) Have you practiced?

Speaking in front of a group is nerve-racking for most people, especially when trying to convince someone to take action. The reason the pros make it look easy is preparation. They’ve prepared themselves by rehearsing and practicing their pitch many, many times. A good rule of thumb: If you haven’t said it 10 times in front of the mirror yet, then you’re not even close to being rehearsed.

4) Is your pitch personal?

Get a leg up by doing your research. Learn the names, education and professional background of everyone in the room. If you connect with your audience in a personal way during your pitch, you’re guaranteed to stand out in a positive light after you’ve left the room.

5) Are you pitching what they want or asked for?

This is similar to question 1, but is more about what solution or idea you’re trying to pitch. An old cliché sales phrase about selling ice to Eskimos comes to mind. While you might have the best idea or product, if your audience can’t relate, you’re wasting not only your time, but that of your audience. No amount of preparation, passion or practice is going to convince a drowning man he needs water.

Preparing your pitch with answers to the questions above requires a good amount of time and effort. Want to win that new client, investment or initiative? Plan ahead and put in the time, and your pitches will consistently make an impact,

Impact is just one component of a successful pitch, so stay tuned for more pointers. Speaking of great pitches, submit your best to JumpStart by October 26, 2012, for your chance to win $100,000 in agency services. Check out the Jumpstart campaign for details.

Good luck!

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