The main context behind Life’s a Pitch is that in all of life we need to pitch to be successful and to get what we want. How you pitch not only your ideas but also yourself and your personal brand will determine the course of your life, and as a result it is something that we must learn to perfect. Split into two halves, the book introduces some key principles about pitching that show that if you can get them right, you will set yourself up in the right way for success.
Book One is written by Roger Mavity and it looks at the pitch itself and how to put together a brilliant pitch in life or in business. Book Two is a lot more anecdotal; written by Stephen Bayley it looks more at the personal pitch and presenting oneself.
Reading the book, I much preferred the first half to the second. Mainly, this was because I found it a lot more relevant to my own personal and business life – essentially, I could see ways to apply the learnings much more clearly.
It is for this reason that the key learnings that I took from the book are from Book One.
For me, one of the most inspirational and important focuses from Life’s a Pitch is that as long as you can show that you understand the problems of who you are pitching to, you don’t have to have a fully-formed solution yet. Pitching, Roger Mavity explains, is all about emotional connections. The pitcher is on trial, rather than the presentation, so this should be a focus when preparing the pitch. Often, we as pitchers get hung up on the ‘big idea’ and spend a lot of time mulling over the idea before we have even begun to truly understand the challenge at hand. However, as Mavity discusses, we don’t need to be clear about the solution from the start, but we must be clear about the problem.
As with any book, there are some words of wisdom that I can apply to my own pitching and some that I am not able to. Here are my four key takeaways:
- To pitch well you need to take a break from the norm. New environments and stepping outside the box are key to thinking differently and coming up with the central nugget of a pitch
- We can get distracted from the content of a pitch by what the pitch looks like. Start with nailing the structure. Mapping this out on paper can help with preventing any obsession with the detail. Once the structure is ready, we can turn to the words and then the design. Ultimately, whilst it is important that the pitch looks good, this isn’t what is going to win for you. The content will.
- Although some people say that PowerPoint is the death of presentations, it is difficult to not turn to PowerPoint when writing a pitch. So make sure that the PowerPoint slides help you to tell an engaging story. Limit words on the pages to prompts in order to avoid reading the slides to your audience – simplicity is vital!
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and your teams to come up with the central creative idea within a too limited timescale. Give time for brains to breathe and ideas to be born and maximise this timeframe as much as possible.
But, of course, anyone else reading this book may take away their own different learnings and that’s what makes this book so interesting. It is definitely worth a read if you’re interested in perfecting your own pitch.