Making a Winning Pitch

Every day you pitch dozens of ideas in one form or another.

How do you increase your chances of success and so make a winning pitch?

Perfecting your pitch involves two key aspects: Knowing your message and knowing your audience.

Know your message

When it comes to making a pitch ask yourself:

1. Can I pitch my idea clearly in 30 seconds?

2. Have I tested and refined this pitch with other audiences?

3. Do I have people who can give me feedback on the effectiveness of the pitch?

4. What are some steps I need to take with my prospective sponsors to implement the idea?

5. Can I articulate my next steps if their answer is yes or maybe?

6. Can I, for example, field potential questions about my pitch such as:

“Why should we be involved in this project right now?

“What is your competitive advantage?”

“What is your business model?”

7. Am I flexible in altering the direction of my pitch when I am questioned or interrupted?

Know your audience

A key factor in having your idea accepted is your readiness to involve your prospective sponsors in the idea’s development. Ask yourself

1. How does my idea impact the greater good or mission of the organization?

2. What are the needs and concerns of the potential sponsors in relationship to my idea?

3. Who are the decision makers, key stakeholders, or potential champions in the organization that can green light my idea?

4. To what degree am I asking my listeners for their input so that they have ‘skin in the game’?

5. How do I remain optimistic in the face of potential resistance or pessimism?

6. What will early wins look like for this audience?

7. What story can I tell that will tap into the needs of the listeners and capture their imagination? (This will be the topic of my next blog “Telling Great Stories”)

When you answer these questions you are well on your way towards making a winning pitch. Good luck!

Leave a comment/What do you think?

Please give your best practices in making a pitch or give examples of successful (or failed) pitches.




An excellent essay on “How to Pitch an Idea” is found on the blog

About cedricj

I am a licensed psychologist and management consultant and have always been intrigued by how leaders can inspire people in their organizations. The bottom line is that people are not always motivated by material rewards, the use of the carrot or the stick, fear and intimidation,and command and control, Five human needs inspire and drive us. Kristine S MacKain, Ph.D and myself describe these inspirational forces in our book "What Inspirational Leaders Do" (Kindle 2008)
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