One Super Useful Skill that No One Teaches in Your 20s

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The art of pitching

I wished I had known about this super useful skill in my 20s. It would have saved me a lot of time, resources, and head-and-heart aches. It would have propelled me faster to millionairedom and punditry. Yeah, no one ever taught me about this one super special skill. Not a parent, not a mentor, not a spouse, not a lover, not a teacher, not a professor, and not a friend.

I learned the hard way through failures, rejections, and tons of head-and-heart aches. I learned it through direct and indirect experiences. I learned it along the way while applying for jobs, submitting works, calling people up, nudging friends, and presenting ideas.

If I had known, understood, and executed this skill of utmost importance, I would have won a scholarship, retained big-shot clients, got an exciting and high-paying job, made multi-million dollars in a short time, and —perhaps, even— married a soul mate. Instead, I didn’t get all those things until a decade later, except for the last one due to many variables including “destiny” and “serendipity.”

For most of us, a decade is too long a wait. So, if you can learn it as early as possible, why postpone?

That super special and useful skill is called: Pitching. Yup, with a capital P.

The art of pitching would be extremely useful in most situations in life, business, and career. Even in politics, when someday you’re running for office.

See Also: How to Improve Your Skills at Office Politics

A pitch isn’t a pitch until it’s awesome and makes you stand out in the crowd. A good pitch is a great pitch that brings result. Sometimes a few minutes, or even, seconds, is all you’ve got to make an awesome impression that gets you selected.

Unless it stands out, people are too busy to tell the difference between yours and other pitchers. And since only you understand exactly how you’re different and worthy of selection, it’s only you who can and must succinctly prove why you’re the perfect choice.

Here are some pointers in the art of pitching.

First, treat yourself as a “business.”

art of pitching

And by “you” I’m referring to yourself as a whole package, which comprises of your skills, talents, good looks, and other unique traits and attributes.

Remember this important rule: a business must sell its image to the public; before they can sell their products. An “image” is basically the positive traits that the public can relate themselves to the business, which matters. Yes, a positive image must matter to the public (or the person you’re pitching to).

People perceive who and what you are based on how you carry and represent yourself. To succeed, every business needs a pitcher to show off their achievements, benefits, and uniqueness. In your case, the “business” is you and the “pitcher” is also you.

In other words, a business needs to be worth talking about. Yeah, it’s something like those popular “queen bees” in high school, but this time around, it must be done, managed, and sustained in a more professional manner. After all, the “business” of being you is a long-term engagement for as long as you’re still breathing —probably 60 to 70 more years– if you’re in your 20s now.

It doesn’t mean that you must project a flawlessly perfect image, but it means that you’d to optimize yourself based as a good person, who truly deserves to get the attention.

Since no one is perfect, having this awareness allows you to expect more from and seek deeper within yourself. You’d do whatever it takes to align yourself with the projected favorable image.

See Also: 9 Qualities That Will Rock Your Career

Second, there is a basic mold for a successful pitch.

successful pitch

Every pitch is the same. However, it doesn’t mean that you should use it over and over gazillion times. Like baking cakes, you’d use the same pan and ingredients, but every cake is different and decorated differently depending on the occasion.

Basically, a pitch is a sentence or a paragraph that connects the person and the pitcher with a specific objective. When the “connection” hits the targeted person hard, your pitch is successful. For instance, when the target is getting a job, your pitch should connect you with the employer. When you’re applying for scholarships, your pitch must connect you to the university and the program’s vision and mission.

Purpose. Know where you’re heading and how it would help the other person (or the public). Include a clear purpose of your pitch by answering “why” you’re the fittest person for it. You may include a response or an answer to a particular problem.

You may also include an explanation why only you’re suitable in the midst of a sea of applicants. Be courageous enough to acknowledge your uniqueness and distinction.

Original. Make the pitch as original as possible. The pitch should lead others, not to follow a pack. To be original, you can choose to use a contrarian perspective, a unique and memorable acronym, or even humor.

Simple. The pitch should be simple, meaning it can be understood without having to wrinkle one’s forehead or checking words up in a dictionary, or a PhD to decipher, written in simple sentences instead of complex ones, and simple enough to memorize.

Short. Make the pitch simple and short. Sweet. Create a clever and punchy name for the project or proposal whenever appropriate, which can be easily memorized. For instance, PetTel for Pet Hotel or Disney’s volunteering program named VoluntEARS.

Third, every pitch is different.

The key to success is customizing the “template” to fit the current objectives. Use the P-O-S-S template to fit your specific situations. Most situations require pitching, thus it would be to your advantage to remember using this framework.

The best pitch is an art with a pseudo-scientific framework and filled with facts. Once you’ve mastered the art of pitching, you shall live a more meaningful and rewarding life. Master it now, while it’s still early enough. Great pitches open many doors to a great life.

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Author: Jennifer Xue

Award-winning author, columnist, and serial entrepreneur. Published in Forbes, Fortune, Esquire, and Cosmopolitan. Reach her at JenniferXue.com

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