Category Archives: The Pitch

How to stop people from sabotaging you pitch

It’s interesting to watch team dynamics when coaching bid presentation teams. Especially when the team has come together having previously not known each other. Psychologist Bruce Tuckman came up with the phrase “forming, storming, norming, and performing”, which pretty much describes what we see in bid presentation teams.  In the storming phase people start to push against the boundaries established in the forming stage and start to belittle each other as they jockey for position.

I’ve seen this belittling present itself when a senior member told a less experienced and nervous team member that their presentation style was boring. And another senior team member telling two other presenters, two days before a major $400million bid that if they presented “like that” the team was stuffed!

In both these situations the senior members were deflecting – denying their own failings and projecting them onto someone else.

Here’s three things you can do to prevent this from happening.

  1. Set the ground rules up front for feedback and that you as the facilitator will control (not dominate) that process. Make sure everyone knows there is a right time and place for giving feedback.
  2. Make sure everyone uses the aware, impact, change model. For example, rather than saying ”you’re boring”, say “are you aware that when you read from your notes the impact is you stop engaging the audience, you can change that by making sure you use more eye contact when you speak which will give you more energy.”
  3.  If people start to deflect call them on it quickly. Preferably one on one.

So watch out for the any narcissistic behaviour because it can undermine what should be the celebration of a lot of hard work.

Pitch Competitor Analysis

Like any methodology the EPM framework is a guide, the amount of time you spend on each step is dependent on a presentation’s importance. I often adapt steps depending on the task at hand. For example, I adapt the solution evaluation section to be a competitor evaluation table. Down the left-hand side, I list the criteria that the client will use to evaluate each of the bidders, starting with the most important and then weight them.  Across the top I name each of the competitors including my client.  Its then a matter of giving each bidder a score out of ten for each of the criteria. We are then able to highlight where our strengths and weaknesses are and develop strategies for dealing with each. Just for illustration purposes I have only weighted the totals, you could display the weights for each criterion for deeper analysis.

 WeightingMy ClientComp A.Comp B.Comp C.Comp D.
Team Availability11091076
On time delivery0.7579879
Problem Solving0.758871010
Average weighted total

Pitching – Hitting the Mark or Scorching Heat.

At HPPG we focus on Pitching, Presenting and Performance. We have just posted a series on performance by looking at Heart Rate Variability, we are now going to have a look at the Pitch.

According to the Etymology Dictionary  (2018) Pitch can be described as to “work vigorously” from the year 1847; “plunging head first” from the year 1762 and even scorching heat or hell, from the year 1200. All these are fairly apt at different times however the one that is more appropriate is “hit the mark” from the year 1300.

To “hit the mark” requires a lot of practice. Think of a professional cricketer, baseball player (pitcher) tennis player who would practice endless hours to get the ball in the right spot. But as we know the professional sports player is far more strategic about their training so that they don’t over train or under train, can peak at the right time and manage their performance throughout the season.

In business we also can be strategic in our pitching so that we can “hit the mark” without the “scorching heat”.  In the following posts we are going to look at a strategy that you can follow to make your pitch successful. Namely:

  • Understanding who you are pitching to
  • Being clear about what you are trying to achieve by the pitch
  • Understanding what the target of your pitch cares about the most – WIIFM
  • Having enough evidence to back up what you are proposing
  • Understanding the best order in which to present the information
  • Knowing how to present the information graphically
  • Conducting an audit of your performance

The piece that’s missing of course is how do we deliver the pitch.  That will be the subject of the next series of posts.

pitch | Origin and meaning of pitch by Online Etymology Dictionary,  2018, viewed <>.