Home » Archive » 60-second pitch: The three biggest mistakes

, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

This is the last of three street-level bits of advice on pitch giving. Previously covered are 10 points for outlining your pitch and the first 10 seconds of the 60 second pitch. The three mistakes discussed today are just a part of a broader discussion in Entrepreneur.

In 60 seconds time, you must:

– say who you are;
– describe the salient features of your business plan;
– and get your listener excited about what you do, so that they want to hear more details.

“The three biggest mistakes people make in their pitches are: 1) describing skills rather than purpose; (2) failing to tell an interesting story; and (3) forgetting to rehearse and prepare.”

Instead of focusing on your skills, focus on why your pitch matters to the person listening. This is where the homework on the 13+ questions is handy. Describe your favorite client and how you’ve changed their life. Describe what you have done and will do instead of the skills that help you do it. What is your specialty — the stuff you do best?

Tell your story, we’re wired to hear them. Robert McKee, a screenwriting lecturer, says all great stories show a protagonist wrestling with antagonizing forces, maintain a sense of mystery and even an element of loss — so share the challenge you face, the amazing solution you’ve discovered and the uncaptured promise that lies in front of you. Hook your listener — get them interested in who you are.

Finally, practice. Practice for two reasons. First, you’ll be surprised how often you get to use your pitch and most often it’s in unexpected places. Second, you don’t want to stumble when you get the chance.

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