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Expertblog: 3 essential pitching lessons from Sylvia Bronkhorst

Sylvia Bronkhorst Pitch

How to win over your audience with a mind-blowing pitch?

3 essential lessons from a self-proclaimed expert. Sylvia Bronkhorst. Education innovator with Head, Heart & Hands at HAN university of Applied Science.

Lesson 1: just be you

Before I started writing, I found myself checking out blogs of other experts in the field of delivering impeccable speeches. I told myself I did this just to get some inspiration, but I was fooling myself. The real reason for me to check out other peoples´ content was to make sure that my content was up to par with content from the experts I admired. I was comparing myself. After realizing this, I found that you can try to be a 1000 different people, but there is only one you. So, instead of trying to imitate others, try to be the best version of yourself. A great rhyme from dr. Suess says it best: “Today you are you. That’s truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you”. Be as you as you can be in your pitch. In the way you talk, the way you move, the way you act. Easy, right? Which leads me to lesson 2.

Lesson 2: always prepare your pitch as if it’s your first

Ok, full disclosure: the last pitch I gave was a TOTAL disaster. I’m not kidding. It wasn’t convincing at all. There was no passion, no spark.This what I had always feared: I was getting sloppy. Thinking to myself before a pitch: I’ve got this covered, I’m an easy talker and I know what I want to say.

Unfortunately, my audience that day was not impressed. I was trying to teach the art of pitching to a class of economic teachers to be. And during my ‘pitching lesson’ I always perform a pitch myself, to set an example. Normally, I try to set a GOOD example. Lucky for me, there’s even more lessons to be drawn from a bad example 😉 This takes me to a valuable second lesson: always prepare your pitch as if it’s your first one ever. Don’t get sloppy like me!

Lesson 3: use a memorable first AND last sentence

Wow, that pitch really rocked my world! That’s the feeling you want to leave your audience with after delivering your pitch. That and an open mouth, preferably. So, you need to make sure that the first and last sentence of your pitch are memorable.

My pitch trainer once told me: “you earn your attention for the next 3 sentences with a great first one.” That was great advice and it really helped me. You can start your pitch with a teaser, an example, an interesting fact or an anecdote. Really anything that draws the attention to you and your story. And the one real NO-NO, the forbidden first sentence is: ‘Hi, my name is so-and-so’. You can tell them who you are after the first part of your pitch is finished. Or don’t tell them. Because if your pitch is good, they will want to know who you are and ask you 😉.

The same goes for the last sentence: go out with a bang! A call for action is always good. Preferably something that relates to your opening sentence. Forbidden last words are: “Any questions?”. After your last, very memorable, words you drop the mic. Figuratively of course! And then you look your audience straight in the eye, full of confidence. BAM, you did it!

Ok, one final piece of advice

A great pitch is short and powerful and therefore incomplete. You must leave something to the imagination, let them crave for more. So, your aim is not to be complete. Your aim is to get people on the edge of their seats. Because you gave them just the right amount of information to leave them wanting more. That’s where “WE WANT MORE” comes from 😉.

I hope my blog does exactly that for you. Leave you craving for more so that you want to create the perfect pitch! And if you have any questions about pitching, feel free to ask. Always happy to help!

Radboud Universiteit | Radboudumc
Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen
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