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The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority. Kenneth Blanchard

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The art of the pitch

The art of the pitch

The ability to sell your ideas and projects is a key success factor. But how can you capture the attention of your audience? Beyond the mastery of argumentation, discover the fundamentals of effective pitches.


What do we spend most of our working time doing? Selling, underlines the author of To Sell Is Human. And he isn’t talking about the 11 % of Americans and the 13 % of Europeans who actually work in sales! It is estimated that professionals across all industries and functions devote 40 % of their time, on average, to “non-sale selling,” i.e., selling their ideas and projects, persuading, and influencing their employees, superiors, colleagues, etc. Whether it is a matter of obtaining a decision, finding funds or resources, negotiating new partnerships or getting people to support a new project, the ability to convey your ideas effectively is critical to success.

However, effectively selling ideas and projects remains a challenge, even for the most seasoned professionals. Psychologists estimate that 90 % of attempts to persuade meet with rejection. And in many cases, this rejection seems irrational. This is true, for example, of the project originator who is sure he has a promising concept. He carefully prepares his presentation, highlights the key figures and refines every last detail. He’s ready and raring to go. However, nothing goes as planned with the venture capitalist. Right off the bat, the latter announces that he has only ten minutes for the presentation, rather than the expected hour. Despite this, he constantly interrupts the presentation and finally seems to lose all interest, though he objectively has much to gain from the project.

How do you explain the difficulty of interesting others in your ideas, and more importantly, of gaining their support? Why this rejection reflex? The latest advances in behavioral science and neuroscience show that the problem seldom originates in the quality of the arguments. Rather, it has to do with the way our brain filters the messages it receives and allocates value to them. In this synopsis, we’ll see that making a successful pitch is a question as much of substance as of form, timing and social interaction!

In this synopsis:
- Create a favorable environment to successfully present your projects
- Five tips to capture the full attention of your audience… and keep it!
- What mental preparation do you need to make a successful pitch?

Synopsis n.234b