A scientist’s guide to making a great pitch

A while back, Harvard researcher Kimberly D. Elsbach observed hundreds of pitches and wrote about what made the best ones really work. Here’s what she found.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Winning new business is crucial to build a great PR agency. Knowing how to pitch is an essential part of making that happen.

In a great 2003 article in the Harvard Business Review, Dr. Kimberly D. Elsbach recounts how she heard hundreds of business and creative pitches, from scriptwriters pitching ideas to Hollywood studio execs to seasoned advertising veterans in the boardrooms of major corporations. Most of her takeaways can directly apply to PR agencies. Here’s what she found.

Your idea will not win the pitch

Unfortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly, a pitch is not won solely on the strength or brilliance of the idea. Rather, it is the perception of the “pitcher” by the “catcher”, i.e. the person judging the pitch, that turns out to be the most important factor. Elsbach observes thatthe person on the receiving end tends to gauge the pitcher’s creativity as well as the proposal itself.”

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.