6 Mistakes Business Owners Make in Pitching
In the last couple of weeks,
I listened to several business pitches
that went awry. As a communicator
with a keen interest in persuasion, I
felt compelled to share these 6 tips
with you.You may ﬁnd them helpful.
If not, please, pass the them along to
My view is that you cannot sell
effectively, unless you can connect
with your audience. Connection
takes good storytelling skills.
Mistake #1: No Back Story
All the presenters forgot to
share the Igniting Incident that got
them into the business. The igniting
incident helps the audience see why
you are the person behind the idea.
It sets you up. It sets you apart. It
gives you a new identity as a
warrior with an idea.Therefore,
your back story connects you to
your idea and to the audience.That’s
when they begin to care about the
success of your new adventure.
Mistake # 2 No Beneﬁciary Story
All of the presenters were
too dependent on their PowerPoint
slides. Bad idea! One of the them, a
marketing director did a very awful
job when his Powerpoint failed to
He could have done better by just
telling a credibility story. E.g.“Hey,
lets forget about the Powerpoint.
Let me share with you about one of
our clients - Mousetrap Pte Ltd.”
Such a spotlight makes a satisﬁed
client the hero. Inadvertently, you
gain credit as the mastermind of the
“suspended reality,” because the
audience identiﬁes with the client.
Mistake # 3 Sponsor Story
Another frequent mistake
is that presenters often share facts
about the parent company. Facts are
boring. Instead, they should share a
“Then, Now and How” story about
their Sponsor. Such a story casts
them as a warrior who has fallen,
but continues to rise higher.
Mistake # 4 Unpleasant English
Some of presenters could
barely express themselves in decent
English. It was tragic.This reﬂected
badly on their preparation. One of
them was almost heckled off stage.
Business owners often come from
the school of hard- knocks, but they
must brush up on their language
skills to be taken seriously. You
never know. What if your potential
investor could barely understand
your pathetic English? Ouch!
Mistake # 5 No Hook No Hitch
This is a costly mistake that
some presenters make. A hook or
hitch is like your bait. It is the thing
gets the audience to pay attention.
One simple but effective way to do
this, is to ask a Big Beneﬁt question,
for example,“Do you know by using
our App, you can save $50M per
Mistake # 6 The Deal
Last but not least, some
presenters fail to offer a deal. In
other words, there was no call
action. Thus, the audience did not
know the exact next step to take.
To avoid this mistake, wrap-up by
calling them take one speciﬁc next
step. Without that, some audience
members would not be sure what
you expect of them.
To engage an audience and
get them to care, share a back story
about why you are the champion of
an idea, who is your sponsor and
who is beneﬁting? Beyond that, be
prepared for a diverse audience,
hitch them-in and offer your deal.
That’s what it takes today.
Gideon F. For-mukwai, MA
Business Storytelling Facilitator
6 Common Mistakes
!• Lack of a back story
!• No beneﬁciary story
!• No sponsor story
!• Poor Language
!• Lack of a hook
!• No deal offered
6 MISTAKES BUSINESS OWNERS MAKE IN PITCHINGMarch11,2014
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