Pitching is an activity that might sound unknown to those who never had to present a project to a commission, to those who never had to persuade someone else about the quality of their own ideas, to those that are not independent creative workers.
To us pitching represents an inevitable moment in the process of preparing a project. It’s when you have to face your inner fears of being judged and expose your idea to someone whose help you are in need of.
As money and investors lack, pitching has become more and more important. Since the last thing you want is to get to pitch your idea and go there unprepared (nothing is worse than a pitching session full of “ehhhh… mmmmh… ahhhhh….”), you had better to learn the principles of pitching and exercise the hell out of it. There are several courses out there willing to teach you how to do the perfect pitch. They cost around two thousand euros.
If you, like me, don’t dispose of that sum, I would suggest the enlightening book by professional script doctor Bobette Buster: Do Story – How to tell your story so the world listens. In this short yet amazing book, Buster shares her experiences in teaching her students how to bring out the perfect story.
In one of my past article we already outlined the importance of knowing what you want to tell and why so, in this section, I would like to skip directly to the format of your story.
Once you developed your story to be the best you could tell, you have to pitch it in order to, as Cormac McCarthy would say, “bring the fire to others“.
Here are the ten principles of narration as seen from Bobette Buster:
- When you tell a story (aka when you pitch your idea), tell it like you were telling it to a friend. It would keep your narration fresh, quick and personal.
- You must let your audience know the answer to the following questions: what, where, when, who?
- Use verbs in present time: it would help your audience getting involved in your narration.
- Remember that story’s main structure develops around a conflict between a thesis and an antithesis. Let your audience know about this conflict.
- Don’t forget to give your speech some “colorful” details, something to hook your audience with. My suggestion is to chance this detail as you change your audience, to find the most suitable every time.
- Try to pass to your audience that same sparkle that stroke you the first time that idea came to your mind.
- Share your story in the most personal way. Don’t be afraid to show a weak point.
- Narrate through the five senses: give your audience several ways to visualize what you are talking about.
- Dare yourself, don’t hide. In telling stories truth is the winner.
- Be short, you don’t want your audience to get bored.
With this indications in mind, you could prepare a short and engaging pitch, so to thrill your audience with the same excitement that is driving you while you work on your project. Good luck!