“Tell me something profound,” my wife asked me.
She had just returned from driving home in a car–for 3 hours!–with an acquaintance who spoke only of shallow things.
“I love you,” I said.
She rolled her eyes.
Not the response I was looking for.
I later asked her, “What was that about?”
She said, “I think I was expecting you to quote something from Shakespeare. I don’t know.”
You might be asking, “What does this have to do with giving a pitch or a speech?”
In the moment when I said, “I love you,” I said the most profound thing I know. Let me give you the context. Around 17 years ago, I risked my life for my wife. As I mentioned, I love her on a profound level.
Now, let’s look at giving a pitch or speech.
Here’s another profound question that rises up: “What would I do if I were not afraid?”
My thoughtful response is: “I would connect.”
Connection is the essence of successfully giving a pitch or speech.
I’m drawing an analogy here: when I risked my life for my wife, I was vulnerable.
To make a real connection in giving a pitch, sometimes, we can use an appropriate touch of vulnerability. Some authors write about “the power of vulnerability.”
What Makes Appropriate Vulnerability?
Be careful to avoid going overboard in using self-deprecating humor.
Also, avoid placing a self-deprecating joke in the beginning of your pitch. Why? Any bit of humor could lose half the audience. So, avoid humor at the head of your pitch.
Still, a bit of appropriate vulnerability can create a real connection. For example, in one of my workshops, I include the dream I had as an 8-year-old boy: to walk on the ocean floor. I got this idea from watching the feature film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Thirty years later, I discovered I had a real dream-killing problem: Inside an MRI exam machine, for the first time, I felt slammed by claustrophobia!
My fear rose up that the diving helmet would trigger my claustrophobia.
I then used strategy to deal with my claustrophobia. I rehearsed walking on the ocean floor by wearing a hoodie (sweatshirt), pretending that the hood was the diving helmet. I practiced looking forward and ignoring the hood (like I would ignore the helmet).
This worked! Yes! I had a great time walking on the ocean floor at the Grand Cayman Island.
At this point in my workshop, I connect my dream and my using strategy to fulfill that dream with the workshop attendees’ entrepreneurial dreams.
Trying to Look “Perfect” Can Be the Enemy of Connection
Years ago, as a novice speaker, I found that my right leg would shake. In my mind, my focus was “How am I doing?! How am I doing?!” (In effect, I was trying to be a perfect speaker. Trying to be perfect set me up for unnecessary nervousness.)
I learned that it’s powerful to make the shift to “How are YOU doing?”
When you focus on the audience, you can respond to them.
Excellent pitching is about being present (alive and aware) with your audience.
On September 23, 2017, Sofia University has invited me to give my workshop Authentic Marketing [both on-campus and Online]. During that workshop, I’ll have the chance to work with audience members to hone their pitches, video marketing and more.
When you attend my Sept 23, 2017 workshop in Palo Alto, California (or ONLINE) — I can work with you directly. Limited seating (Limited tickets to attend ONLINE)! Get your ticket when you CLICK HERE.
My friend, to perfect your pitch, it really helps to have a coach and a test audience. At my workshop, you’ll have me as your coach plus two colleagues (in a Team of Three) who will serve as your mini-audience. You’ll get a lot done!
Spoken Word Strategist
Authentic Marketing Coach – Executive Coach
Speaker-author of over 40 books
Soar with Confidence: An Executive Coach Reveals Secrets, Lies and Countermeasures So You Excel Like Top CEOs and Leaders – Pitch, Lead, Succeed
Get the Advantages to take your business to a higher level. Learn Leadership Advantages, Pitch Advantages, and Success Advantages. To Soar with Confidence, you learn and use principles for top level communication to board members, team members and the media.
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