Pitch like a pro: Don’t reveal your desperation!

Do not be desperate

This is the third article in a series in which we will discuss the method of pitching outlined by Oren Klaff from his book, Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal.  Oren Klaff spends most of the book outlining the STRONG method and offering examples of how to implement his techniques.  Reference his book for more details.

Sometimes we go into a pitch or presentation relying heavily on a positive outcome. Everyone wants to do well, but some days doing well can make or break your deal or perhaps your career.  There is a lot of pressure surrounding you, but it is important to not seem needy to your target audience.

Don’t reveal your inner motive

After you finish the main part of your pitch, you may be tempted to reveal the need for a quick response because “you need the deal.”  By revealing your “need,” you reveal something that your target can take advantage of.  It is a natural human tendency to start defending ourselves in reaction to disappointment or insecurity; however, this can be the quickest way to kill a deal.  Neediness is a clear sign of weakness, and it can be hard to hide the anxiety you are feeling inside.  Neediness arises in several situations. It can arise when you sense hesitation from your target audience or when we want something that only the target can give us.  The first step in overcoming validation-seeking behavior is to recognize when it can happen so you can counteract it.

Fight fire with water

The best way to counteract neediness is to not want anything.  This may seem obvious, but you have to change your mindset and your behavior when you enter high-stakes transactions. You have to carry out the presentation while remaining cool and letting them come to you.   When the target audience expects you to reveal your need, you have to counteract it by withdrawing and denying your audience. The best way to not appear needy is to appear as if you are the prize for the target audience instead of the other way around.   Maintain your poise, command the stage, prove your worth, and then withdraw by making it known that you are there to decide if the target audience is a good fit instead of them interviewing you.

Don’t give in

It can seem scary at first to appear detached and uninterested in a situation that you care about so much, but think about the fact that “people always want what they can’t have,” so appearing unattainable will make people actually desire you more.

No matter how difficult the audience is, you must stick to the plan and avoid changing personas. You cannot start out being the macho unattainable candidate and then slide into a person who reveals his or her desperate need for funds to meet a deadline.   The biggest thing is to give one signal that you are the prize, and then, avoid anything that distracts from that idea.


Image courtesy of Live Life Happy

Reference: Klaff, Oren. Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading and Winning the Deal. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. Print.
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Erica Martin

Business Developer at Beekast

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