(Ooops, did you miss out on reading our article on how create your pitch? One step at a time, read through the article How to write an effective elevator pitch first!)
Okay, so now you’ve created your perfect elevator pitch, that’s step 1, but the question remains - how to deliver it perfectly. Your presentation must be outstanding in order to sell yourself and/or the product. We’re going to walk you through the steps of delivering your perfect pitch!
1. Must I memorize the entire pitch?
Let’s start off with the hardest part; how to remember your pitch. The key is to memorise and practice your “punches and wow-material” like the introduction, certain quotes, and the finishing, while keeping the rest in bullet points. Yes, practice - that’s the key, practice, practice, practice (watch the Youtubevideo below). The fear of brain blockage is excruciating but if you’ve practiced it intensely then it’s in there somewhere. Stay confident and believe in yourself!
2. Make it sound spontaneous
I’m sure you’ve heard it before but it’s true - all great speakers rehearse in order to sound spontaneous. But what is the real reason for this you might ask, well, if you don’t rehearse your speech, your body language will adapt to the mood you’re in. If you’re nervous or unsure of the situation, this will cause your body to act accordingly. If you’re too confident and cocky this will create a negative dominant body language. Having rehearsed your speech, you’re in control, and you do want to be in control, don’t you?
Rule of thumb: you want to remember 80% by heart, while 20% should be conveyed spontaneously. Rehearse different vocal varieties out loud to choose which tone of voice and what words to emphasise that sounds most spontaneous.
3. It’s all about the energy
If you’re nervous about giving the pitch then try your best to make yourself comfortable. One quick fix is to have a chit chat with the people you’re pitching to in advance in order to create a connection and cool down. Showing your nervousness is however not always bad, if the listener catch on to it they tend to it give you more attention and sympathy.
Show the listener you’re happy to be presenting with a positive attitude and smile. Might sound cheesy but smiling has shown to have great effects on the listener. It makes the auditor reflect on the topic in a more positive light and what’s boring otherwise sounds more interesting. The number one rule is that you must be convinced in what you’re saying: if you don’t believe in it neither will the listener.
4. King of the throne
It’s all about owning the atmosphere. Or is it? No, it’s all about adapting to the context. One of the most important things is to create the illusion of you feeling comfortable in your own skin giving the presentation. That goes for the clothes as well, of course, you should dress for the occasion but choose clothes that match your personality and you feel comfortable in.
Tip: Read more about the importance of appearance and the Do’s and Don’ts in our articles on body language and what to wear for an interview.
5. Behavioural adaptation
If you don’t know the space you’re presenting in - prepare for different scenarios. You might end up in a small room, behind a table with more people in the crowd than expected. Not the ideal setting to shine with your pitch. If you’ve prepared for the worst you’ll increase the risk of being perceived as uncertain and powerless: being assertive is the key. If you actually do end up behind a table ask if you can rearrange the furniture or stand in front of it, whatever makes you comfortable. Take charge of the situation! Engaging with your audience is always a plus and this is the perfect opportunity to bond by simply addressing someone and asking a simply answered question.
6. The power of silence
Knowing when and how to be quiet is an art in itself. One should be careful of using it if uncertain but it’s a tool to create great impact to your pitch. Making the right length pauses gives you a sense of control and authority. Also, avoid filler words like umh’s and ehm’s. This could easily be annoying and distracting to the listener and doesn’t fulfil any purpose. The quiet pauses are effective and give the listener time to think of what you’re actually saying.
Tip: If uncertain, rhetorical questions are very appreciative way since they create an automated pause before being answered.
7. Heads up! There might be follow-up questions.
Prepare for a scenario where the listener bombards you with questions afterwards. Come up with the top 15 most likely asked questions that might appear. Even if you don’t remember the exact answers on the spot this will definitely decrease the risk of being caught off-guard and create a better impression. You should aim to answer each question with a 10 sec strong response to avoid rambling and losing focus.
Tip: If you have a hunch of a specific question they might ask - prepare an awesome rehearsed answer and wow them with your “spontaneous creative thinking”.
8. Expect the worst but deliver as if you’ve won already.
Whether you’re pitching an idea, proposition or even yourself it’s always going to be more people that’ll reject it rather than buying it. This should be a motivational challenge to prepare even more and create an even stronger pitch.
Even after a rejection, it’s important to keep the same stamina: conveying the attitude that you weren’t beaten down will leave the listener with a good impression and maybe even change their mind.This will open up for future possibilities. It’s all about creating a good impression that lasts. So, shake their hand, thank them for their time, smile and walk away with your head held up high like a winner.
Tip: Don’t forget to leave your contact info in case they would want to change their mind!
It’s all about creating a personality that the listener respects, trust and likes by being assertive of who you are and want to be perceived as. Now you’re set to go, get cracking on that practicing, Good Luck!