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6 Common Mistakes Often Made in Pitching Ideas

Posted in: Communication, Digital communication, Oral Communication, Persuassion, SMEs, Social Media in Crisis Management, Stakeholder Engagement, storytelling Started by

6 Common Mistakes Often Made in Pitching Ideas


In the last couple of weeks, I listened to several business pitches that went awry.  As a communicator  with a keen interest in persuasion, I felt compelled to share these 6 tips with you.  My view is that you cannot sell effectively, unless you can connect with your audience. Connection takes good storytelling skills.


Mistake #1: No Back Story

All the presenters forgot to share the Igniting Incident that got them into the business.  The igniting incident helps the audience see why you are the person behind the idea. It sets you up.  It sets you apart. It gives you a new identity as a warrior with an idea. Therefore, your back story connects you to your idea and to the audience. That’s when they begin to care about the success of your new adventure.


Mistake # 2 No Beneficiary Story

All of the presenters were too dependent on their PowerPoint slides. Bad idea! One of the them, a marketing director did a very awful job when his Powerpoint failed to work. Ouch! He could have done better by just telling a credibility story. E.g. “Hey,  lets forget about the Powerpoint. Let me share with you about one of our clients – Mousetrap Pte Ltd.”

Such a spotlight makes a satisfied client the hero. Inadvertently, you gain credit as the mastermind of the “suspended reality,” because the audience identifies with the client.


Mistake # 3 Sponsor Story

Another frequent mistake is that presenters often share facts about the parent company. Facts are boring. Instead, they should share a “Then, Now and How” story about their Sponsor. Such a story casts them as a warrior who has fallen, but continues to rise higher.


Mistake # 4 Unpleasant English

Some of presenters could barely express themselves in decent English. It was tragic.This reflected badly on their preparation. One of them was almost heckled off stage.

Business owners often come from the school of hard- knocks, but they must brush up on their language skills to be taken seriously.  You never know.  What if your potential investor could barely understand your pathetic English? Ouch!


Mistake # 5 No Hook No Hitch 

This is a costly mistake that some presenters make.  A hook or hitch is like your bait. It is the thing gets the audience to pay attention.

One simple but effective way to do this, is to ask a Big Benefit question, for example, “Do you know by using our App, you can save $50M per year?”


Mistake # 6 No The Deal 

Last but not least, some presenters fail to offer a deal. In other words, there was no call action.  Thus, the audience did not know the exact next step to take.

To avoid this mistake, wrap-up by calling them take one specific next step.  Without that, some audience members would not be sure what  you expect of them.



To engage an audience and get them to care, share a back story about why you are the champion of an idea, who is your sponsor and who is benefiting? Beyond that, be prepared for a diverse audience, hitch them-in and offer your deal. That’s what it takes today.