How to be Pitch Perfect Even if You’re Tone Deaf

By Guest blogger - Apr. 9, 2013
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elevator pitch, mission statement, Presentability, unique selling proposition, USPEditors Note: This is a guest post written by Phil Preston and Michael Neaylon – cofounders of Presentability. 
It’s the second part in a two part series on establishing your expertise or pitching an idea, product or service. Their opinions are their own.

In our first instalment we looked at making your content relevant, finding your audience’s core drivers, discovering the most appropriate tone in both your content and delivery, and successfully articulating your main selling points.

In this post, we look at vital ways to not just have your pitch heard, but have it – and you – truly remembered.


By being concise, precise, and memorable as you deliver with ease.

1: Give concise points well presented

The more concise you are, the more confident you appear. Equally importantly, the more confidence the person or people in front of you have in you.

Many people meander or waffle around the outskirts of what they do, rather than conveying exactly what they do and who they help with confidence, clarity, and precision.

Fewer points in greater depth is usually better that a smorgasbord of points with little depth.

2: Back being concise with being precise

Have up to three key points that are confidently on the money for this audience and this occasion.

You’ll know that they’re on the money (or very close to it) because you’ll have taken some time to find out who will be in the room, why they’re there, and what their core drivers are.

You can also practise your pitch on people who are either in your target market or have a very good understanding of who that market is and what they want to hear.

The minute their eyes glaze over or wander, stop, and ask them why. It will invariably be connected to the point you just, unfortunately, failed to make.

3: Employ the 10% rule

An excellent rule of thumb (from one of the world’s best selling storytellers Stephen King) is to cut your content by at least 10%. This forces you to prioritise your material to be the punchiest and most relevant it can be for your audience.

4: Deliver with ease

Make no mistake; your elevator pitch is a rehearsed performance appearing unrehearsed. Not an unrehearsed performance trying to appear like you ‘kinda know’ what you’re talking about.

However, now you have your three key points you can lay back from delivering them like a ricochet of bullet points and afford to be a little more conversational in your tone.

As we mentioned in our previous post, that might not be so conversational if you’re pitching to a panel. The more you can make your concise, precise pitch be natural, entertaining, and easy to listen to (even a little chilled) in the environment it’s being delivered in, the more your audience hears – and remembers – what you have to say.

5: Cultivate your own memorable style

In our workshops and coaching, we work on people’s style. That is, the uniqueness of their message in relation to who they are, and their specific take or angle on that message.

It’s a major part of their personal brand and in a world of business bland that goes along way.

Mine your experience, your background, your appearance, even the idea itself for unique traits, behaviours, and stand out characteristics or stories you can subtly weave into your pitch. People will remember you and your idea much more.

Here’s an example of a memorable context straight from Hollywood – the self declared home of the elevator pitch due to the fact scriptwriters often have only three or four floors in an elevator ride to impress a producer with their idea:

One scriptwriter apparently said to a producer, ‘Imagine this. Danny De Vito and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Identical twins.’ The fact that it was so concisely ludicrous is precisely what it made memorable, and helped get it made.

Now you have a game plan for constructing and delivering your next elevator pitch to truly elevate you, keep practising on people in and around your target market and adjust it based on the feedback you’re getting.

If the stakes are high or challenges big, never underestimate the value in working with a coach or program to help you define, refine, and rehearse your pitches and presentations.

Remember the biggest bonuses of being concise, precise, and delivering with ease in your own inimitable style are confidence, authority, and being truly memorable; three positive impressions for any business owner any time.


Phil Preston and Michael Neaylon are the Co-founders and Directors of Presentability. They are entrepreneurs who facilitate influential and persuasive presentation skills programs to equip you with the skills and confidence you need for even greater presentability.


Guest blogger

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