When was the last time you crafted your presentation to specifically persuade, convey credibility and pack a punch?

Imagine what we could achieve in business (and in life in general) if we could ‘win the pitch’ every time? Imagine being able to deliver your presentation and always have your customers, clients, stakeholders, colleagues and bosses see you in a credible, convincing light. Then “buy” from you.

Despite the onslaught of new communication technology, the need to communicate powerfully and pitch successfully in front of audiences, large or small, seems to be more important than ever. Why then do most people spend so little time in precision planning and preparing their pitch for maximum, positive impact?

You can create that impressive impact by putting aside your slide show and focusing on your language toolkit.

In my years of experience as a speaker and professional MC here’s what I consider to be the two most perplexing questions on a presenter’s mind when pitching for business.

Firstly, how can I make myself memorable to my audience (for all the right reasons)? And secondly how can I turn those resistant listeners into my true believers?

One thing that will definitely help to make or break your pitch is your choice of language. Imagine a presenter who uses formal, highly technical language, almost as if they are a walking, talking document. Now compare that to a presenter who uses colourful, vivid phrases and explanations that are thought-provoking yet clearly understood by everyone. There’s little doubt that words can really pack a punch when you step into the boxing ring of pitching for business.

Let me share with you this formula of FREE speech to liven up your language. Gloves up. Game on!


Fit, flab-free phrases


Repeat what’s important


End with power


Emotionally charge your work


F – Fit, flab-free phrases

Delivering in long-winded, convoluted sentences is a surefire way being remembered as colourless and dull. It will help your audience follow your thoughts if you develop your main points by way of short, sharp headlines or statements to help you sell your ideas more persuasively. If you use analogies or similes that relate to the point you’re making, this will evoke striking images or pictures in the minds of audience members.

I’ve long remembered the senior financial planner pitching for business to a large organisation by way of using metaphors to explain how his company can partner with the organisation. He explained how his planning service moulded itself on a role similar to a navigator in an international car rally. His financial planning helped clients (the rally car driver) to successfully navigate the tight twists and curves in the road ahead. He spoke of journeying with them for the entire race with constant commitment and loyalty.

During his pitch, he used phrases like ‘navigator precision’ and ‘rewards for high performance in tough economic times.’ He won the pitch by a mile. The feedback linked back to his success with the colourful phrases that were more memorable than his competitors who were heavily technical in their language.

R – Repeat what is important to your audience.

Like it or not your audience’s attention span is getting shorter. In many ways the panel you are pitching to is waiting for you to press their buttons and deliver information that relates directly to what they want to achieve. In other words, they want to hear the direct benefits of what you’re selling – not just the features.

Your audience will recall sections of information that you repeat often. They are more likely to remember you favourably if you’ve explained how you can specifically add value to them and then repeat the benefits to them. But beware, this is not a license for you to rattle off four major points many times over. Instead it’s an opportunity to repeat one or two benefits a few times so it leaves no doubt in people’s minds about what they should remember about you.

It’s always a good idea to re-package the key points you’re making in simple terms. In other words, dress them up in different ways using vivid language to help drive home your pitch persuasively.

E – End with power

When it comes to the grand finale, what many speakers don’t realise is that the conclusion often determines the success or failure of a pitch. Just as it’s important to begin strongly, the end must also leave the audience with a confident and assertive lasting impression because we know audiences are likely to absorb the final thing you say. Generally speaking, the ending should be rammed home in an unforgettable and brief climax. It should include a call to action or food for thought. It’s your opportunity to package the presentation neatly, giving the audience a feeling of having completed the cycle. It’s your last chance to fully persuade, stimulate or inspire.

I am often disappointed for a speaker who has obviously spent many hours carefully compiling their introduction and main body of the pitch only to drop the ball at the conclusion and end abruptly with a lame statement such as, “Well ladies and gentleman that’s it, I think. Does anyone have any questions?”

Perhaps that speaker was wishing that a dynamic conclusion might magically pop out of his mouth just when he was wrapping up. The reality is, strong or powerful conclusions rarely “come to you” at the crucial moment. A solid ending requires careful planning in advance.

E – Emotionally charge your work

I can just see all the technical presenters now rolling their eyes at the call to inject emotion into their very straight-down-the-line business presentations. Believe me, so many business people, when required to give a pitch, struggle with this final rule of perfect pitching. Many professionals, such as solicitors, accountants or engineers, believe that appealing to an audience’s emotions will make their presentation ‘too soft’ and therefore compromise their credibility. However, there is no escaping the fact that the majority of listeners will remember ideas and information that appeal to their emotions.

This communication rule is about personalising the presentation and finding commonality with your audience. When you include a human angle or a real life story to illustrate your point, this will help you press the emotional ‘”hot buttons’ of your audience. Many company leaders agree that when these buttons are pressed you are one step closer to performing at your peak and winning that all important pitch.