Previously, we talked about the expectation that leaders need to make a lot of ‘little’ presentations to fulfil their role.
We touched on the importance of showing up as a leader and how you present yourself to others.
Now, we want to look at the second presentation key to building Career Mastery: Pitching an idea.
Before we start, let’s consider what we mean by ‘pitch’.
What is a pitch?
If you’re a sales person you’d happily say, ‘Yep, I pitch ideas all day long.’
As a leader, the pitches you are making during your day are likely to be less formal and perhaps less obvious.
They could range from making a suggestion to a manager in a one-on-one or offering an impromptu thought in a meeting.
Either way, you need to be seen to be effective here – pitching is a public sport and if your ideas are not being considered as worthy by others this could harm your reputation and stifle your career.
And the days of relying on the authority of your position to have people listen are long gone.
You need to be a powerful pitcher!
Also, you need to be able to do this on the spot – often you won’t have time to practice and prepare.
One of the best pitching frameworks I’ve seen is from Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick.
They offer six principles:
- Your idea must be simple. (Easier said than done!)
- Your idea needs to be able to grab people’s attention.
- You need to express your idea in concrete, universal and everyday words. We’ve all heard people present conceptual and abstract ideas that create more confusion than clarity.
- Your idea needs to be credible and believable.
- People need to care about your idea to listen. A simple way to do this is to connect it to something they already care about.
- And you need to be clear about what action you want people to take.
How are your pitching skills? Are they boosting or boiling your career?
PS: If you want to practice your pitching, come along to our Influential Presenting program in January. You’ll have multiple chances to prepare and present ideas to a real-live audience. It could be the career boost you need.