Five factors to consider when you have to pitch an idea to an audience.

Public speaking doesn't come naturally to some people, especially when they have to speak in front of one hundred people. 

Two months ago, this was something I had to do, when I had to pitch my idea to the hundred or so people who turned up to hear the pitches for the Walthamstow Garden Party. 

The idea was that the winning pitch would win the opportunity to host a workshop that would benefit the Walthamstow public.

After the pitches, the audience would vote for what they thought was the best pitch. As I secured 73% of the vote, I was quite astonished I had won. 

Now, I want to outline five reasons why I think my pitch was successful.

1. Do a lot of reading about pitching ideas and make notes, so common themes will stick in your head. 

2. When you pitch an idea, you have to assume your audience doubts your idea, and doubts you as you give your presentation. So sell the benefits of the pitch, so the audience has a product they can use without any training or difficulty. 

3. When you speak, look at everyone around you, and acknowledge their presence. This might be a daunting experience, but you must remember that people have turned up to hear you. 

4. If people are uncertain about your benefits, use social proof to show that your product has been a hit with other people, so why shouldn't it be a hit with them?  Make them laugh and you are half-way to a winning pitch.

5. Finish your pitch with a question and answer session: taking questions from the floor will make you appear professional. This gives an impression you are approachable and genuinely want your product to work for the audience. 

What works for you when you pitch an idea?