To continue the theme of the post before this, storytelling, I checked out Nigel Rees’ Dictionary of Anecdotes for a relevant story. This one caught my eye.
Oscar Wilde was once asked by a friend how his latest play, Lady Windermere’s Fan, had gone. “It was a great success,”he replied, “but the audience was a total failure,”
If you have the wit of Wilde you can carry this off. If you are as humourless as the self-congratulatory judges of Strictly Come Dancing you can’t. Blaming the television audience, who have made John Sargeant an unlikely folk hero, was not an astute move.
The same goes for a pitch. When the eager question, ‘how did it go?, is met with, ‘they didn’t seem that interested, ’ or, worse still, ‘ they clearly had another agenda’, then you know the audience is being blamed.
The pitch may well have contained great insight, a killer strategy and a perfect solution. It deserved success! But if the performance was difficult to follow, lacked surprise and failed to engage, don’t blame the panel when they don’t vote for you.
Worth remembering also, that unlike the ‘Strictly’ panel who do claim expertise, people judging pitches may not be experienced in receiving and evaluating a pitch. Not an easy task when much rests on the decision.
All this leading to the unsurprising, oft repeated, advice that you rehearse before an ‘audience’. See if they get it, and enjoy it.