How to pitch like a pro

Speaking in public is often cited as being one of the most common fears we face as humans. It usually ranks higher than death, heights, shark attacks, spiders or being pulled limb-from-limb by flesh-eating zombies! But it doesn't have to be that frightening.

In business, speaking in front of people is an unavoidable part of the job description. Whether addressing a panel in an interview, a group of colleagues in a meeting, or a conference room full of investors, there’s little room for stage fright. No matter how uncomfortable you feel at first, you need to be able to deliver your ideas in a compelling and convincing way to ensure you seal the deal you’re looking for.

But how can you do that when you’re quaking in your shoes? We asked some successful entrepreneurs to share their tips on how to pitch like a pro.

Let’s recap:

  • Practice makes perfect. Whether you choose to rehearse in front of the mirror, your family, your phone or your cat, practising what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it is invaluable.

  • Use notes, but make sure they’re short. Bullet points or key words work well – you want them to spark an idea that you can elaborate on; you definitely don’t want to be reading word for word.

  • Put things into perspective... what’s the worst that could happen? Even if you forget what to say or trip over your words, you’ll still be alive at the end of it all!

  • Capture your nerves and focus all that excess energy on the job in hand rather than letting it run riot.

  • Find a way to relax beforehand. Listen to music, do some yoga, go for a walk. Work out what calms your mind, and do it.

  • Have fun! It might feel impossible, but if you’re enjoying yourself (or at least giving the impression that you are!) your audience will pick up on that. Project your voice, smile and make yourself memorable.

And finally, remember that people don’t want to see you fail. It’s tempting to feel like your audience is against you, but most of the time they’re just glad it’s you on stage and not them! As long as you prepare, practice and project confidence in your product, you’ll smash it!

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