It’s a Kid’s Pitch
Yesterday I visited London Business School to give a half hour talk on how to pitch, nothing new there but for the audience, they were fifty school children from the local area who were taking part in a dragons den style event later that day. The experience was not only a lot of fun but also something of a surprise, because in some ways the pitches were better than many produced by professionals with twenty years work experience.
There were areas in which the children, who ranged in age from thirteen to fifteen, could not rightly be expected to compete with professionals, for example their ability to demonstrate a track record and credibility was very limited. Moreover, they struggled to demonstrate social proof but that’s something I am sure could be remedied with time. In common with most professionals the children didn’t mention any sense of scarcity and didn’t choose to wrap-up their pitch as a story. However, they eclipsed most pitches in these areas:
Them kids can pitch
In total ten pitches were made and without exception what the children lacked in experience they made up for in their ambition and clarity of vision, unencumbered by the boundaries adults have discovered and live by, they identified the problem people face and came-up with solutions that were fresh and born out of personal experience.
“Success not shared is failure”
‘Success not shared is failure’. To my relief not one child brought up how much money their pitch would make them, though they also ignored how much money anyone would make from the solution….. What they did focus on was the scale of the problem and how many people would benefit from their solution, throughout there was a genuine will to benefit all people, not just themselves.
Even under quite tough questioning the children were able to demonstrate a belief in their solution, none were pretending. Sitting through ten pitches back-to-back can test your power of attention but the honesty each child showed meant the audience were compelled to watch throughout and there was no question the children believed in their pitch.
The judges awarded the first prize to the children with what I also judged to be the best pitch, it was clear, well structured but most of all it was authentic. One child spoke without microphone and none of the speakers had notes, they all spoke with feeling that gave the pitch emotion. Setting aside the viability and value of their proposal, the quality of the pitch was as good as many professional pitches that I have seen.
I am certain the winners were anxious, nervous and thought they could have pitched better but the fact they were as good as many professional pitches goes some way to demonstrating just how little we adults have advanced their oral communication skills.