Regardless of whether you’re looking for a new job, you’re an entrepreneur seeking investors, you’re regularly employed at an organization, you’re self-employed, or you’re a fundraiser for charities, knowing how to be captivating is fundamental to achieving your goals. How captivating and persuasive are you?
The WITA method will give you the clarity and focus you need for a captivating, winning pitch that will help you reach your dreams. Take a pen and paper and answer each of the questions below. Your answers will form the structure of your “pitch”.
First, consider the context: We live in an era of zombies; zombies who are disconnected from each other. We don’t listen to each other; we don’t connect with each other. Then consider the next figure: 95% of our communication takes place inside our head (which means it takes a lot of effort to get people’s attention). Summing up, we are disconnected zombies with chattering monkey minds. Stress is what happens when our monkey mind chatter gets out of control. Does that seem surprising?
What is the WITA method?
It’s a simple method that can be adapted to any individual to come up with a winning pitch as follows:
Wake up the Zombie
Don’t start your pitch without first making sure your audience is paying attention; you want them present, in the here and now. Imagine that you’re the fifth entrepreneur presenting your project to a jury that’s already flagging after hearing several pitches in a row without a break. How can you be sure they’re present and ready to hear you out? I recall one entrepreneur who, before beginning his pitch, asked participants to breathe with him, in total silence. On another occasion, an entrepreneur sang live to grab his audience’s attention.
Impact the Zombie
You’ve done it: your audience is with you. You have their full attention, and they’re all ears. It’s the moment of truth. You want to create an impact as you zoom in on the topic, sparking your audience’s curiosity to know more. You have only seconds in which to captivate them, focusing on a specific topic that they care about to arouse their interest and curiosity. Sharing an important piece of information, asking a question to be pondered or showing an eye-catching photo related to the topic are just some of the techniques you can use to capture your audience’s attention with something that strikes them with its relevance and impact.
Tell a story that has Meaning
It’s a key moment for you to enter into detail, weaving a story that highlights the most appealing features of your project, your cause, your particular talent, or your business. Using examples, metaphors and anecdotes, you’ll bring your presentation alive. Be explicit and clearly state the benefits and impact of your story, leaving a lasting impression on your listeners and transporting them to the reality you’re describing. I still have fond memories of how one fundraiser captivated future donors by having the beneficiary himself tell the story, recounting his own experience of a donor’s generosity.
Last but not least, authenticity is the key ingredient that will make your pitch captivating. It means accepting yourself just as you are and honoring your values. When you’re authentic, you are freer and dare to overcome adversity and achieve the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
How will you know if you’ve delivered a captivating, winning pitch?
That’s a great question. I always say that a captivating, winning pitch is one that has an impact and leads to a subsequent exchange or relationship. If after delivering your pitch you get asked to a meeting, a coffee, or are otherwise given a compliment, you’ll be able to affirm that your pitch was captivating. In other words, you’ll have managed to captivate and impact your audience by showing up as unique and authentic.
Silvia Bueso is a certified professional coach and an expert in The Art of Asking. She helps nonprofit leaders effectively make the ask in a way that allows them to achieve their teams’, projects’ and organizations’ objectives.