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The Art of Pitching
“I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m doing it.”
Hi folks, it’s-a me! Mario…not!
Ahem, on today’s menu we have the following: “I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m doing it.” Wow, what a great dish! Or quote I guess. Probably someone said it before, but hippy di hop and I declare this quote mine. At least this was a sentence I blurted out when I was pitching in front of an audience.
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On October 4, 2023, I attended a workshop titled “Pitch It Up!” conducted by Verbalima, experts in communication, at MOB, a co-working space and community for freelancers and entrepreneurs based in Barcelona.
I primarily attended this event because I thought it would be a good way to meet new interesting people and the topic of the workshop sounded pretty relevant and useful as well.
And it didn’t disappoint! It was quite a nice evening where we all shared our personal stories, along with some cookies and drinks.
So here’s how you pitch your personal story in 1 minute:
Introduce yourself by telling your name,
And telling the audience what you believe in to set up the context.
Now what do you do (given that context)?
With having built your first agreement through the previous two points, it’s time to support it with DATA
Now the question is what can you do for the audience from today on
(Bonus: Think about you want to convey beyond your words!)
Before we all had our final personal pitches, we did a few other exercises which were quite fun too. For example, we were each supposed to convey some emotion or keyword we received on a piece of paper without saying a word and the others have to guess it.
How did my speech turn out? Well, in the few minutes we had I scribbled some bullet points on a piece of paper (see image below). It was not easy because the thing is - as you might know if you read my past articles - I don’t know what I’m all about, I can’t define a specific role for myself. I’m not really described as a filmmaker or a photographer or a writer per se, but perhaps as someone who has just been doing a bunch of different things on the internet over the years with no clear focus.
It’s already been a month - so I am not sure about what I pitched exactly and I improvised a bit too, but I guess it went something along these lines:
“My name is Patrick Choi…and I believe that we all have some kind of dream we want to pursue - something we are passionate about. But the path may not be so simple or easy. We don’t have it all so clearly set out…but we can go in the right direction, we just need to get started.
I myself am going down my own path, trying to set the right things in place, but there will be challenges and with that also improvements. You know, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, only backwards. Honestly, I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m doing it! I’m just a humble guy trying to become somebody. And I aim to share the learnings and wisdoms with you!
So far, over 400 people are following my journey on YouTube and I’m just getting started. Besides my videos on YouTube I also have a photography Instagram account and a recently started newsletter on substack where I will share my learnings with you as well.
So if you are interested in the journey of becoming your best version and living or working towards your passion, and want to take away learnings and wisdoms that you can apply to your own life, then you’ve come to the right place! I’m telling you, it’ll be a blast!
So check out my QR code or bento link here, and let’s grow together!”
Well, besides this not being totally accurate anyways, I actually cheated a bit, because there were some flaws in the real pitch that I sort of fixed here.
What flaws? Here’s the feedback I received:
They really loved my passion during the pitch (at least that’s my impression) and lauded my way of presenting or the way I conveyed the message. They also loved in particular the quote “I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m doing it”. However, the messaging actually wasn’t specific enough. In the end they were like “So what do you do exactly?” So yes, I need to be sure about what I wanted to achieve in the end, what were the people supposed to get from or do for me. What I was doing exactly (on the different platforms) was not well explained. And there was no very specific call-to-action at the end. Besides that, I also failed giving my “Data” part in a convincing way, I said something like “And I already have over 400 followers and I guess over 60,000 views”. Oof, Patrick. I already knew I made a mistake when I said “I guess” out loud. Oh well haha
My takeaways from that pitch:
Be crystal clear about what your objective of that pitch is
What is your message exactly?
What do you do? (i.e. what do they need to know)
Be very precise about the data you pick, it has to be relevant and impactful, there are many different types of useful data/metrics that you can present from your works
e.g. “Already x [target audience] already follow my work”, “I already worked with [clients] like [impressive and relevant references]”, “I have been working in this [space] for x years”,…
Also be confident and sure about it, no “I guess”
For myself, I think, even if you are not super clear about what you try to sell, you can still be confident about that fact, your uncertainty
Like the “I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m doing it” that resonated with my audience
You know, before the pitch it was kinda hard to be like “Ok, I’ll just be the next one, I got this” as I still tried to think about what I was gonna pitch. It felt like I was way too vague, which I suppose is also kind of just the whole premise of my current life/project haha. So yeah, didn’t make it easy to form clear concrete statements for my pitch. I also kind of trusted that I’ll be able to improvise well and that it’ll work out. During the pitch it all came together, the rush of adrenalin or whatever it was made my speech flow and say the things that I felt. And that’s how my quote came to be, straight out of my guts. After the pitch I felt great too, I think pitching really does take practice and you learn way more by simply having performed first rather than sitting all day trying to perfect the pitch in theory.
Did you pitch anything yourself recently? How did it go?
I hope this story about my time at the pitching workshop was somewhat insightful! If you did, be sure to subscribe for more ;))
Definitely doing better since the last post I believe, I am more confident and even won a tight “calling competition” within our team, i.e. who gets the most conversations within a time frame gets a fresh opportunity assigned to their name which effectively means you get a +1 to your monthly target determining your variable salary.
I now have a lot more accounts/companies in my pipeline and can better spread my activities among them, I also improved my internal communication. I’m getting there step by step.
Also, I just recently met another tech sales guy, and man, the amount of value the opportunities/deals I fish are like 5x larger even though their products and the company are strong and respectable. I really am playing on “hard mode”, huh?
Friends & Co:
Met up with some friends, including Spanish-speaking ones, and attended events :D
Japan Weekend BCN with Spanish friends
Bday Party of a friend I know from Munich who now studies in BCN
Circles House (I love those guys) event with a guest talk by the co-founder of Innovamat, one of Spain’s hottest startups
Team dinner at a restaurant and team event hiking through Costa Brava (Blanes) which was beautiful
Day trip to 3 Catalan villages (Tavertet, Rupit, Vic) with Kiaora Travel which was a great experience
Language Skills (Spanish):
I have to admit I’ve been speaking quite a bit of Spanish recently, meeting people and chatting
Chatting in Spanish was something I’ve been doing for a long time already although last few days have been more intense
And speaking in Spanish with flatmates, friends and events such as that day trip mentioned above where everyone wants to speak Spanish, proves to be very bueno haha
I have been taking photos and editing some fun stuff spontaneously but no big project progress
I did however post one photo on my IG photography account, learned again how to edit photos for that “film look” and edited some photos
Learned how edit my video in terms of color grading which took a while
And scripted a very cool video idea I had…though failed to actually film the scenes..
Pretty terrible tbh, I haven’t worked out a whole lot. Although the last week was riddled with events either in the evening or during the whole day, which basically means it would be best to actually protect the time for sports in the morning before everything happens, rather than relying on you being able and willing to do sports right after a long day of work
2 FAVORITE THINGS
Video - Japan by Gawx. A 3-min cinematic video of Japan’s many facets. Truly beautifully made, and the guy isn’t even a filmmaker by trade but rather a graffiti artist/painter. Give it a watch. I aspire to have such quality in my videos one day.
Tool - FutureMe is an awesome website/tool/app/service that allows you to send yourself (or actually anyone else as well) a letter from the future. So e.g. you could write a letter about your current experiences, feelings, struggles, joy or whatever you want and send it a month, a year or even a decade into the future. Then eventually, your future self will receive the letter from your past self. And honestly, it’s just so cool to be able to read the thoughts of your past and reflect. I’ve used this website since 2017…6 years have passed since then, my gosh! And it’s funny how when you look back, you realize the worries you had were just so insignificant, or how much you’ve grown and how proud you can be. I really do highly recommend you try this out! :D
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