Working with a client recently, I realised my language had changed. The word “Pitch” had been substituted for the more usual “Present” as I encouraged them to get out and engage with their markets  in a very focused way to build sales, rather than taking a more passive approach, and presenting their credentials, hoping to strike a nerve.

Any presentation, as I have argued before is an opportunity to sell something, a product, an idea, a course of action, but it seems to offer three alternatives to an audience, buy in, leave it alone, or remain  on the fence. By contrast, a Pitch seems to offer less options,  you either buy in, or not. No middle course, no fence, yes or no.

Before he was famous outside advertising, Bryce Courtney used to write a weekly column for one of the Australian newspapers called “The Pitch.” Looking back at a dog-eared copy of a compilation of columns published  afterwards, and decoding the great stories for the message, it is unashamedly, “Pitch” as a call to action, leave no middle ground, and manage a conversation for a “Yes or No” outcome. 

A more recent publication is Oren  Klaff’s great little book, “Pitch Anything” which offers a framework for making a pitch successful, and whilst the focus is on capital raising, the lessons are applicable everywhere.

So stop presenting, and start pitching when you want a clear outcome.