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Top 10 Tips for Making a Pitch
By Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D.

Learning how to get your ideas accepted is an art form and requires patience and practice. The people you want to present to have proved they know how to do it (because they are sitting in the big chair). These ten tips are how they got to the top of the business food chain - and how you can too.

1. Do your homework. Know the players and what they need and want. The more you know about the person or company you're talking to, the easier it will be to get your idea across.

2. Practice your pitch. Shooting from the hip may have been a great skill in the wild west, but it doesn't work in today's business environment. Rehearse with one of your team mates, your spouse, in the mirror or in front of your dog. The point is for you to get comfortable with talking about your idea.

3. Hit the high points. Don't try to cover all the bases in the first meeting. Your job is to get them excited and let your idea inspire the person you're talking to. If you see them looking around the room or at their watch, you've over-stayed your welcome.

4. Incorporate their ideas. If the person you are presenting to has some additional ideas, listen to them and do everything you can to blend them with your own. This will inspire the buying party to buy-in to your project or product.

5. Don't get defensive if they say no today. Remember that tomorrow is another day, and many times a person will change their mind after sleeping on it. I suggest that you don't even ask for acceptance of your idea right then and there. Tell them to call you in the next day or two after they've had a chance to mull it over. However, if this is a sales call and they say yes - take their order, say thanks, and leave.

6. Don't make promises you can't keep. If you don't have the people, the product or the permission to do what you say - don't offer it. The quickest way to ruin your chances of moving forward with your idea (or your career) is to be branded as a fabricator.

7. Sell yourself first. If someone likes you, they will be open to what it is you want. Do not underestimate the importance of being easy to work with, kind, trustworthy and smart. These are the qualities that the higher-ups look for.

8. Don¹t do your pitch in your office or at lunch. Asking someone to come to your office says you don't value their time. Having a meeting at lunch creates the possibility of your idea getting lost because there are too many distractions. If you are pitching to a large group, make sure that the room is not so big that you have to raise your voice to be heard in the back of the room.

9. Be passionate. The person you are talking to is always on the hunt for new ideas and the people to pull them off. If you are selling an idea, you are also selling the fact that you are capable of bringing it to fruition. If you can get the person you're talking to excited (through your own enthusiasm), your chances of getting accepted is a thousand percent better.

10. Be nice to everyone. The receptionist, the secretary and any of the assistants you come in contact with could be the boss next year, so remember to be extra considerate. Even if things don't work out this time, you want to have another shot in the future.

Remember not to let your ambition or ego cause you to behave in a manner that will get doors slammed in your face. By following the tips above, you will be able to not only sell your ideas to those in charge, but you will be selling yourself as well.

Now that you have the tools, get on the phone and make some appointments. Summon up your courage and present your ideas knowing that you have the skill set to make things happen.


For more than two decades Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, and government organizations worldwide have relied on Dr. Barton Goldsmith to help them develop creative and balanced leadership. He is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, business consultant and nationally syndicated author. His columns appear in over 150 publications, including the Los Angeles Business Journal. Dr. Goldsmith works regularly with The Young President¹s Organization (YPO) and The Executive Committee (TEC). Considered an expert on small business, he has spoken worldwide to groups of 10 to 5,000, and is in high demand for Keynotes, Training and Consulting. He can be contacted through his web site at: www.BartonGoldsmith.com or at (818) 879-9996.






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