Making Your Pitch to an Internal Audience

Successfully navigating workplace relationships often depends on how well we communicate with others. And doing this effectively with an important person on the spur of the moment can be the most challenging.

I’ve written a number of posts about improving workplace communication, but here I’d like to focus on capitalizing on those opportunities for impromptu interactions with a hard to reach internal audience. These are the times when we want to convey something important to a specific person and we want to do it in person.

However, it is often a challenge to simply get face-to-face time with the right person. This might be a senior executive who has control over resources that can mean the difference between your project being successful or not. Or it could be the CEO, who has no idea that you possess a compelling product or service idea that has so far fallen on deaf ears.

Getting your message conveyed directly to the right person requires being prepared to act when the opportunity presents itself. It may be when you’re walking from the parking lot, finding a private opportunity in the elevator or simply standing in line at Starbucks. Regardless, don’t miss out on the opportunity and don’t let your pitch be less than perfect.

You can raise your odds of success by perfecting what you want to say into a brief pitch. Like the proverbial elevator speech, you need to clearly communicate what you want to say into sixty seconds or less. This means composing a clear and compelling hook that provides a concise overview of your unique idea and the benefits of implementing it.

Make it clear by choosing words very carefully. Use adjectives that are meaningful rather than vague. Describing something the color of graphite conveys a lot more than calling it gray. Make it concise by focusing only on the most important aspects that will fit into a sixty second timeframe. Most importantly, make it compelling. Why should your audience care? Why is your idea better than anyone else’s? What will make him or her ask you to continue the conversation?

And be certain that what you are saying is completely understood by your audience. Make no assumption that he or she will know your acronyms or the technical details you are throwing around so casually. Put it into a context he or she can appreciate (e.g., return on investment). Finally, make it simple and easy to digest.

To perfect this internal pitch, you need to first write it down. You need to memorize and rehearse it. You need to test it on a variety of other people. And you need to really own it with complete confidence when you actually say it.

In the same way that an elevator speech is vitally important for external audiences when trying to pitch a company, product or service, you often need an elevator speech for your internal audience. Being well prepared to deliver your pitch to the right audience at a moment’s notice can be essential for you to succeed.

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About Mark Craemer
Craemer Consulting specializes in workplace communication, organization development and leadership coaching.

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