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Innovation is a State of Mind by James O'Loghlin

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Chapter 4 How to pitch an idea

If you have an idea that you want to grow, then sooner or later you are probably going to have to pitch it to someone. In fact, to grow your idea and turn it into something real, you may need to pitch it dozens of times. Inside an organisation, you may have to pitch it to your boss, or someone else who has the power to approve or reject it. Outside an organisation, you may need to present it to potential partners, investors, clients and customers.

Why a pitch is important

Many people who have ideas undervalue the importance of the pitch. They think, ‘Surely a good idea should stand on its own merits'. Well, yes and no. Of course the quality of an idea is important, but so is how you pitch it.

When you are asking someone to embrace an innovative idea, you are asking them to make a decision to change, and change makes people nervous. If you can explain clearly, succinctly and confidently how your idea is going to make things better, it helps a great deal. If, on the other hand, you are nervous and unsure and your pitch is unclear and long-winded, it will be a lot harder for the person listening to feel safe about supporting your idea.

You aren't just selling your idea. You are selling yourself, because those listening to your pitch will be thinking that if they get involved, they are going to have to work with you. So they will be assessing both you and your idea.

A strong pitch can hook someone; a weak one can lose them. Managers need to be convinced ...

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