Pitch imperfect: Embracing the power of mistakes

- June 24, 2024 2 MIN READ


When it comes to pitching or presenting in front of an audience, even the most meticulously planned presentations can veer off course. This unpredictability often triggers nerves and shakes our confidence. However, what if I told you that mistakes could be incredibly powerful? asks Jonathan Pease, small business coach and strategist.

Making a mistake during a pitch—a slip of the tongue, a technical glitch, or losing your train of thought—can be seen as a pivotal moment rather than a disaster. It’s an opportunity to showcase authenticity and resilience under pressure. How you handle these moments can define your presentation’s impact and your audience’s perception of you.

Here are 5 ways embracing mistakes can transform your pitch

1. Surrender to mistakes

First and foremost, accept that mistakes are inevitable, no matter your level of experience. Embracing this reality is the first step towards harnessing the power of mistakes. Instead of apologising or dwelling on errors, maintain composure, smile, and carry on. This demonstrates confidence and humanises your presentation, making you more relatable to your audience.

2. Express yourself

A pitch is not just about conveying information; it’s about connecting with your audience on a personal level. When something goes awry, use it as an opportunity to inject humour, share a relevant anecdote, or simply engage directly with your audience. People remember stories and emotions far more than dry data points. Personalising your pitch makes it more memorable and fosters a genuine connection with your listeners. As an added bonus, it’s also much easier for your audience to buy into, as most people trust and buy from people they like. 

Watch Natasha McNamara shares how to make your pitch stand out

3. Foster empathy

Acknowledging and swiftly addressing mistakes can foster empathy from your audience. Remember, they, too, have experienced similar challenges. By openly addressing mistakes and demonstrating your problem-solving skills in real-time, you build rapport and credibility. This shared experience can strengthen relationships and enhance audience engagement.

4. Prepare for contingencies

Having a plan for when things don’t go to plan is essential. Whether it’s technical issues, data inaccuracies, or unexpected questions, having a contingency plan in place is essential. Practice scenarios with your team, strategise responses and rehearse until handling these challenges becomes second nature. Preparedness not only boosts confidence but also ensures you’re ready to navigate any curveballs during your presentation.

5. Keep perspective

Finally, maintain a sense of perspective. In the grand scheme of things, a mistake in your presentation is a minor blip. Dwelling on it detracts energy from delivering your message effectively. Instead, view each mistake as a learning opportunity and a chance to pivot towards a more impactful presentation.

Embracing and leveraging mistakes can elevate your pitching skills from good to exceptional. It’s not just about flawless delivery but about demonstrating resilience, personality, and the ability to connect authentically with your audience. So, next time you find yourself in front of a crowd, remember: a mistake might just be your most powerful asset.

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