Project Management

Pitching and Storytelling 101

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By Vibhu Sinha, PMP

Why should we care about learning how to pitch? Can you think of a situation where you want others to look at the world from your perspective? Perhaps you want your business sponsor to provide funding for a new project; perhaps you want to embark on an acquisition as part of an inorganic growth strategy and you need to convince the Board that the acquisition is worth undertaking; perhaps you want to convince the interviewer that you’re the right candidate for the job; or on a personal note, perhaps you want to convince your children that eating popcorn is bad for their health. All of these situations require making your stakeholders (even if they’re your children) appreciate your view of the world or your vantage point. If you can envision the possibility of being in the midst of one of these or other similar situations, you will need to learn the skills of pitching.

Often people perceive that pitching is about looking sharp, memorizing facts, and making an impression on the audience by demonstrating their business or analytical acumen. It is not so. These attributes will help but they will not “move” your stakeholders. Often people also perceive that pitching is about using elegant words and flowery phrases. It is also not so. Pitching is about telling a story…a story that only
you can tell. What do I mean by “a story that only you can tell”? It means that the level of authenticity, passion and relevance you would bring to your story, no one else would.

Perhaps you have been narrating stories your whole life or perhaps you’re new to it. The good news is that from the perspective of Behavioral Psychology, storytelling is less of an art and more of a science. There is a “formula” to storytelling that can be mastered and applied to pitching. And the formula is universal – applicable across industries, business sectors, geographical boundaries and cultures. 

If you’re interested in learning more, join me on October 20 at 11:25 a.m. EDT (UTC-4) at the PMI Virtual Experience Series, where we explore the concepts behind storytelling in greater detail and participate in Q&A. This presentation was originally scheduled for 3-hours under the category of “hot topic”, in the format of an in-person workshop, at the PMI EMEA Conference in Prague, Czech Republic, earlier this year, but with the onset of COVID-19, we transitioned to a 25-minute session at the Virtual Experience Series. Ergo, I will make my best effort to answer as many questions as I could within the allotted time.

Posted by Heather McLarnon on: September 23, 2020 04:13 PM | Permalink

Comments (4)

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Rediscovered the meaning of pitch through this article. Looking forward to attend the virtual series on story telling scheduled in October 20.

Storytelling is at the heart of getting one's point across to the listener in an effective and captivating way. Thanks for this article, Heather.

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