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How I managed to write my first book (about pitching) and what are the key tips about pitching.

Recently, I spoke in the second episode of my podcast “Ondernemend als de Bliqsem” with my writing coach Pep Degens about the lessons and challenges of writing my first book on pitching. Pep is the author of several very successful books and has years of experience as a trainer. In this article, you’ll find useful tips if you also want to write a book, and we share the most important insights about pitching.

Pep wrote about this episode on LinkedIn:

“We all ‘write’ our own story in life, and more often than you think it’s worth putting it on paper. You did that and found out how valuable it is, just for yourself!”.

This fits well with the feeling I have about writing my first book.

Another beautiful quote from Pep:

“Don’t write a book for the bookstore or someone else. Just look at yourself. Look inward and ask yourself: is there something I need to write? And then write it down.”

I had planned to write this book for more than a year before I actually started writing. Pep was one of the first to advise me to really do it.

Tips for writing a (management) book:

  1. Start with the table of contents and structure. Or not. For me, Ralf, it’s nice to start with a rough idea of the table of contents. Often because I already know a lot about a topic and have given trainings on it. The table of contents gives structure to my writing process. For Pep, it works differently. For him, the structure arises gradually during the writing.
  2. Ask for help. A writing coach or people who can provide you with support and feedback are very useful for a writer. Especially for a novice writer like me. Pep helped me a lot with his feedback and tips, and especially by boosting my confidence.
  3. Take your time. Thinking about the content of the book takes time. And of course, writing takes time. Accept that you need a considerable period for this and don’t make a writing schedule. However, consider when you would like to publish the book and roughly outline several phases. I find the book “How to write a management book” by Geerhard Bolte very useful. It takes you step by step through the writing process, giving you something to fall back on.
  4. Do research. My book was about my vision on pitching and summarized my training experience. Still, I did research again at the start of writing, and definitely gained some useful insights. And also confirmation that my vision aligns with contemporary principles of pitching, including the scientific ones. I also interviewed 10 people about pitching. That was very useful and I’ll definitely do it again for my next book!

What is the value of a book for yourself as a writer? Writing is a valuable process to clearly review what you know about a topic. A book doesn’t generate much financially, but it helps you get your content in order. While writing my book on pitching, I added an extra step to my four-step model of pitching. Since the release of the book, I’ve been using five steps. I also notice that people recognize me faster as an expert in the field of pitching. A book really shows you know your stuff. And that’s positive when offering training and lectures/presentations.

In the podcast, I also share these pitching tips:

  1. Pitching is flirting; accept that you can’t tell everything in that one minute. It’s an introduction to your further story and more contact with your audience.
  2. Pitching is the new presenting; many meetings and presentations are boring. People just start talking and are not well-prepared. Pitching means preparing well for what you want to say in that one minute to connect with your audience.
  3. Everyone can pitch; pitching is mainly about being well-prepared and is a tried-and-true, recognizable method. It’s not a spontaneous skill but a way of working and preparing.
  4. Use a clear structure; the five steps always work! A catchy opening, a recognizable description of the problem, a clear and enthusiastic presentation of the idea, evidence that supports the value, and a summarizing and activating conclusion (call to action).
  5. Open recognizably; align with your audience’s perception by sketching a recognizable image of the problem at the beginning. A situation that your audience will 100% surely recognize. Then you’ve hooked them, and you can continue the pitch.