Participants of a recent I&E Academy learned some important lessons about pitching – for example, they should never start their pitch with a question. Oh, and they’re probably breathing all wrong.
Andy Roth, co-founder and head of customer success at RocketBolt, taught the attendees about physical and vocal stress – and how to get rid of it before an important pitch.
The majority of physical stress is carried in a person’s neck, shoulders or jaw, Roth said. He led the group through stretches to reduce this stress.
Roth also taught the group tips for reducing stress in their voice.
A pitch should be clear, concise and compelling. To keep the audience’s interest, a pitch should vary in tone or pitch, speed and volume.
“These are levers that you’re constantly moving,” Roth said. “It is the change that matters because you don’t want to be monotone.”
A person pitching should know his or her own voice, he said. Speaking in your natural tone will ensure you don’t become hoarse.
If your voice is low, make sure you can be heard. If your voice is high, reduce shrillness by introducing more air into your voice. Make sure your sentences are even; don’t drop off at the end of sentences or raise your pitch to make your sentences into questions.
Another important thing, Roth said, is to be sure you’re breathing correctly – with your diaphragm, not by moving your chest.
But whatever you do, Roth said, don’t start your pitch with a question.
“I have one purpose in this life, and it’s to make sure no one starts a pitch with a question,” he said, explaining that the technique loses some of the audience’s interest if they don’t relate to the question asked.
The last session of I&E Academy will focus on The Art of Risk-Taking and will be facilitated by Kaitie Whelan, founder of The Lightning Notes.
That session will be held in Gross Hall 270 on Wednesday, April 5 from 5:45 to 7 p.m.