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By guest blogger Fontys student Denitsa Peneva

Pitching is like flirting and it does not matter whether it is for a group, an event or an exercise during a course or training. A successful elevator pitcher compels its audience very quickly, in such a way, that even after the pitch has ended, everyone is left wanting to to hear more about the topic. 

When flirting if even one mistake is made it could hinder the chances of your potential partner ever wanting to go on a date with you. In the same way, your audience is going to be sensitive to everything you do when executing your pitch. Also in a short amount of time you need to attract as much attention from the audience as possible.

Therefore, this blog is created to tell what you should NOT DO when you are about to flirt-pitch your idea to your listeners: 

 1.  Forgetting to aim 

When you are flirting with someone, you have a clear objective, for example, to get their phone number and go on a date with them in the future. After that you take the necessary steps to achieve that. But in elevator pitching, people usually start by having an unstructured pitch where different topics are all over the place. In order to improve that, any pitcher first needs to have a clear description of the main goal as to why he/she is doing the pitch. This is vital to the pitch because this can lead to more clarity when preparing and a better pitch design.

“The goal is not that you tell your story perfectly, the goal is “movement”, impact with your audience!”

Ralf Fleuren

2.  Being boring

Now with your purpose in mind you can start flirting but you do not want to scare off the person next to you so you try to give clearly just enough interesting information to persuade them in your favour.

Similarly, when elevator pitching, people try to compress too much information in the short time frame that they are given and stray away from the main point of their pitch. But actually what they need to do is first create their core message that they want to convey and build their whole pitch design around it. Also ” a pitch is not a presentation” and it needs to have  more entertaining information and vibe to quickly attract attention and possibly create an incentive for action. This can be done by clearly stating the core message with interesting supporting visuals. 

Additionally, mentioning the message at least three times – just after opening, in the middle of the speech and in the end, could create the necessary influence on the audience. In that way any pitcher can be more easily understood and convince the audience to do what he/she wants.

3.  Bad designing

Many people like to go off-topic easily, use a not well-structured pitch plan where they forget to put more visuals and interesting information. That is a bad move because as compared to  when we are flirting we all want to look in our best light right?

That is why from this point on everything in the elevator pitch needs to revolve around the core message but it needs to be surrounded by fun and interesting images, forms, anecdotes etc. Every part of the pitch plan needs to logically fit with the core message.

4. Starting with your name

Fear of rejection usually can make people start off a pitch or a conversation in a more traditional and boring way – with an introduction or the normal cliche sentences. Although the best way to make an impact when doing a pitch is to open surprisingly with something relevant to the the topic – video, image, story or any type of a performance. Making something unexpected and intriguing will break the ice with the audience and establish a friendly and enjoyable atmosphere for the rest of the pitch.

5.  Not being nice to the audience  

In a conversation with a potential dating partner a person pays a lot of attention to everything – including what has been said and how the other person has reacted. Why sometimes we can not seem to do that with pitching?

When presenting you need to be clear in all of your expressions. Talking too much all the time, having a monotone speech,  use of unclear words, any signs of closed body language such as no eye contact can ruin your pitch. Also listening to the audience and following and responding to their reactions is of an enormous importance for the pitcher to able to connect with its listeners. 

6. Forgetting evidence

People tend to skip through topics and manage to say the main point but sometimes they forget to back up what they have said with the needed supporting facts. A good idea makes people enthusiastic but figures can make them convinced. Therefore, good pitchers use  relevant and supporting figures to fully persuade their audience.

7. Telling technical stories

Boring, technical, theoretical stories are not expected to be influential enough to the general audience. That is because the public likes interesting personal stories that create emotions and maybe make the people relate to them in some way. Additionally, getting too carried away in your own story can be dangerous too. That along with the use of technical or too abstract words – you may not reach every person in the public. Therefore, being open for everyone’s reactions and using everyday language is the best option to describe personal experiences to illustrate in a better way your core message. 

“Emotions are the fast-lane to the brain”

Doug Stevenson

8.  Finishing with “Thank you for your attention”

The last impression of any conversation tends to stay more memorable in the mind of a person. Traditionally, using the most common and unattractive ways to close a pitch such as “Thank you for your attention” results in creating a bit stiff, cold and professional atmosphere in the end. A successful elevator pitch finishes with a positive impact that gives an incentive to the audience to take action and move towards the pitch`s purpose. A good example is closing with a conclusion that restates the core message and often ends with a question that connects to the pitch`s end goal while leaving some space for discussion.

9. Doing a monologue 

When you are talking to other people you cannot act like you are talking to yourself! That does not remain unnoticed and turns out to be rude in the end even if the person giving the pitch was just shy for example. Even a short interaction is needed to move people and let them know you care what they think. An example could be to let them raise their hands with a (closed) question or one person ask an open question and then move on. An elevator pitcher should try to always be more interactive with its audience. For instance, maintaining eye contact and always keeping an open body language usually have a strong positive effect on the public. 

10.  Hiding in your comfort zone

Some people even when they are prepared really well to pitch, cannot escape their fear of pitching. Then they get nervous and do not perform in their best because they did not have the confidence in themselves. But a pitcher should not forget his purpose and try to be more brave and determined to give everything that she/he has to achieve it. Also being more proactive and not afraid to step out of his/her comfort zone are the keys to an outstanding pitch.

11. Not practicing enough

Many beginners may have taken all the previous steps and think that now the pitching is going to be easy but in the end that will be all for nothing if they have not practiced enough to give the pitch. It is never “only” a pitch and a pitcher should take that seriously. In addition, practicing even to a small audience of close friends that can also give some feedback afterwards, is of great importance. That is because whether it is positive or negative feedback – the pitcher can now use it to improve his/her pitch even more.

12. Becoming a nervous mess

Every pitcher happens to be in nervous state at some point. Focusing on the short time frame and trying to repeat all the information in your mind are not going to help you pitch better. Instead, in this way, you are disrespecting your efforts and putting distrust in your preparation before the pitch. Being present in the moment, focusing on the current situation and most importantly relaxing by taking one deep breath, can actually help you act natural and remember how well prepared you actually are at that time. 

By Denitsa Peneva, July 9 2019

Denitsa Peneva is an International Business student at Fontys University but also a creative writer with amazing writing skills and an innovative mind. She is out-of-the-box thinker that can always find creative solutions for complex problems. Additionally, she has a great passion for online marketing, screenwriting and filmmaking. Denitsa has recorded several short films and currently working on a scenario for short series. “I stand for creativity and out-of-the-box critical thinking.”

Need help preparing your elevator pitch? 

Do you want to know more about doing a good elevator pitch or need our help with the preparation? Then contact us, we will gladly help you. You can also participate in our online pitch training or view our other blogs.