The Art of Pitching
It is a speaker's responsibility to get their message across in a short span of time. You could be pitching your ideas to the class, to the visitors at a science fair or maybe to your boss; the objective remains the same. Master the art of delivering a speech perfectly because well-crafted words sell like popcorn.
1) PREPARE BEFOREHAND
If you find yourself beating around the bush in your pitch then it means you are really not prepared. Prepare a short speech beforehand or gather up the thoughts in your head if it's an on-the-spot delivery. State your point up front. If there's a strict time limit, don't squeeze in the 10 thoughts that come to your head. Pick the two or three most important ideas, and speak about those. Choose your words with the intent of making your message as clear as possible, avoiding jargons and unnecessary, tangential information.
2) PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
You won't have the benefit of a cheat sheet when you're in a real situation, so remembering the points is vital. The more you practice delivering your pitch, the easier it will be to sound conversational and relaxed. If you have ample time, it is a good idea to run it by a colleague, friend or family member to get a fresh perspective. Or, say it in front of a mirror so that you can be your own judge. For starters, it is best to at least say it out loud once before you walk up to the stage because a pitch on paper is very different from the one said out loud. Remember to check your timing as you rehearse your talk.
3) ELIMINATE VERBAL PAUSES
Repeatedly saying “umm”, “a”, “like” detract from what you're saying. To avoid these on the final day, take care of these during your practice. They disturb the flow of a sentence and make it sound detached. Speaking more slowly, eliminating distractions, and making eye contact will help you stick to your message. Effortless speaking is basically an outcome of diligent practice sessions.
4) SPEAK SLOWLY
Another way to speak more clearly is to speak slowly. You may feel that if you rush and say everything you wanted to say, you'll be able to get it over with and make people see your point more clearly. If you speak too quickly, there's also a chance that you will say something that you regret or that makes absolutely no sense, and you'll have to go back to make your audience understand what you really meant. You can skip the trouble by speaking slowly to begin with.
5) MIND YOUR BODY LANGUAGE
Communication isn't only about what you say. Your posture, eye contact and gestures are part and parcel of communication. For example, sit up or stand up straight while delivering your speech because slouching can show a lack of professionalism. Also, using your hands to gesture can help you explain what you mean and can get your whole body into the speaking process. Take note that a posture of crossed arms or legs portrays a feeling of inflexibility and yes, make eye contact with your listener from time to time. It helps the audience to connect
Dyuty Auronee is an occasional fusspot who loves her tea and authori-tea. Reach her at [email protected].