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Pitching to your boss: Idea presentation and support gathering
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Learning outcomes

Objectives and goalsClick to read  

At the end of this module you will be able to:

• Define the term “idea pitch” and outline the benefits of pitching an idea
• Discuss the different types of pitches
• Develop a good pitch
• Effectively pitch a business idea
• Present idea pitch to your boss 
• Deal with pitch failure

Idea pitch and its structure

What is an idea pitch? Click to read  

• Pitch is ”a speech or act that attempts to persuade someone to buy or do something(Source no.: 4)
• A pitch is an opportunity with limited time. Therefore, in a pitch, you must clearly and concisely convey all the key elements of your idea.
• A pitch must be well-researched, evidence-based, and tailored to the right audience.
• To be effective, a pitch must establish a relationship with its counterpart, convey a simple and powerful message, and thus stand out and quickly capture the listener's attention.

 • A pitch should arouse envy, cause the counterpart to react, and leave a strong impression (Source no.: 6). 

• Since a pitch is persuasive by nature, it must make credible arguments (Source no.: 5). 

• To increase the chances of success, you need to tailor your pitch to your boss and the time frame available.

• The perfect pitch shows the boss that your concept is convincing and gives him confidence that he can expect a return on investment.

Benefits of pitching an idea Click to read  

Presenting your ideas is the perfect way to demonstrate to your boss some of your skills and abilities, such as communication, creativity, flexibility, and problem solving. 

In addition, persuasion, negotiation, time management, and general verbal presentation skills are paramount. 

The benefits of pitching an idea are numerous. If you present your idea successfully, 
    - the relationship with your boss can be further developed
    - positive changes and improvements can be achieved within the company
    - you can generate more revenue for your company
    - you can gain the attention of your boss and convince him or her to pursue and implement your idea, and
    - it can boost your self-confidence. 

Types of pitchesClick to read  

The elevator pitch

• An elevator pitch is a colloquial term that refers to a short speech that outlines the idea for a product, service or project. The name "elevator pitch" derives from the idea that the speech should be short - no longer than the time of an elevator ride - or about 30 to 60 seconds long (Source no.: 1).

• Elevator pitch focuses on how you are going to help your employer and is designed to get you noticed (Source no.: 2).

• The reason elevator pitches are so important is because our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, so you need to capture someone's attention in a very short time.

The short-form pitch

• If your elevator pitch was successful, you may be invited to tell more about your idea, so you will need a longer version of your elevator pitch.

• Short-form pitches can last anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes. If you are giving a presentation in a competitive environment, be aware of length requirements (Source no.: 3).

• According to Wise and Feld (2017), this short version goes deeper into your proposal and should include sections on the problem, solution, target market, competition, team, financial summary, and milestones you plan to achieve.

The long-form pitch

• The short-form pitches can pique the interest of the boss and give you the opportunity to present a long-form pitch.

• When this opportunity presents itself, it is important that you make the most of your time.

• The long-form pitch typically lasts 30 minutes (Source no.: 7) and includes a presentation that covers all aspects in detail.

• A long-form pitch should convey the business concept clearly and concisely, open up the opportunity for follow-up questions, and capture the interest of the boss.

Development of an idea pitch

Preparing your pitchClick to read  

1. Think through your idea

• Ask yourself what problem the idea solves and whether the problem is significant enough to justify the cost of your solution.

• How your idea will resolve the problem?

• Are you the right person to solve the issue?

2. Consider the scope of the idea

• How big your idea is, as the size of the idea impacts the amount of preparation you need to do, the number of pitches you need to make, the decision-makers you need to reach and the amount of time you can expect it to take to reach your goal.

3. Identify the decision-maker

• Identify which person has the ability to approve your idea 

4. Consider the other person's perspective

To consider the perspective of the person to whom you're making your pitch.

5. Plan your pitch

Three variations:
     - Five-second version -  single sentence that concisely conveys your idea
     - 30-second version and 
     - Five-minute version

Practice your pitchClick to read  

You could have the most beautifully put-together pitch out there but, if you don’t practice it, your pitch will likely fall flat. 

• Getting the delivery of your pitch right comes from knowing the content

• Expect to make changes to your script and slides during the practice period; it will reveal any inconsistencies and flag where things don’t flow. 

• Don’t just go through it by yourself. Get in front of others to simulate the pitch environment – and the nerves that may come with it. 

Strategies for pitch successClick to read  

Following pitch strategies can help you to clarify your message and help your boss to give your ideas the green light.

1. Answer Two Questions: 
How much does it cost? 
How much does it make? 

2. Start with a KISS
stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid

3. Ask, Don't Tell 
Asking for advice and guidance helps get your boss involved and enrolled in your ideas. 

4. Context Conquers Content
Without it, your story doesn't make sense

5. The Presentation That Matters Most
The sophisticated presenter knows that a powerful pitch is really a dialogue 

6. Invitation Over Instruction
Invite your boss to a shared discussion to identify the best path forward

7. Speak in Leadership Language
By speaking the language of your boss, your initiative takes place in a way that is simple, accessible and clear.

Delivering an idea pitch

Presenting Your PitchClick to read  
Body Language and Voice in Your Pitch Click to read  
Dealing with Pitch FailureClick to read  

Why does pitch fail?

How to deal with the pitch failure?


Key takeawaysClick to read  

Well done! Now you know more about:

• Idea pitch
• The elevator pitch, short-form pitch and long-form pitch
• Preparation of the pitch
• Strategies for successful pitch
• Making pitch presentation 
• Dealing with the pitch failure


Idea pitch, types of pitches, pitch preparation, pitch practicing, pitch presentation, pitch failure


At the end of this module you will be able to:

• Define the term “idea pitch” and outline the benefits of pitching an idea 

• Discuss the different types of pitches

• Develop a good pitch

• Effectively pitch a business idea

• Present idea pitch to your boss  

• Deal with pitch failure


The module entitled Pitching to your boss: Idea presentation and support gathering looks at definitions of idea pitch, outlines benefits of pitching an idea and identifies types of pitches. It also deals with pitch idea development, which includes tips for preparing your pitch and tips on how to practice it. It provides tips on how to present the idea to the boss, as well as tips on body language and voice during the presentation. Finally, it addresses the pitch failure and the way how to deal with “no” as an answer.


(1)    Elevator Pitch (Investopedia) https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/elevatorpitch.asp
(2)    Faust, B., Faust, M. (2006). Pitch Yourself: The Most Effective CV You'll Ever Write. The Best Interview You'll Ever Give. Secure the Job You Really Want. Pearson Education.
(3)    How to effectively pitch a business idea (Harvard Business School Online) https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/how-to-pitch-a-business-idea
(4)    Pitch (The Cambridge Dictionary) https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/pitch
(5)    Santolalla, O. (2020). Rock the Tech Stage How the Best Speakers in Tech Present Ideas and Pitch Products. Apress Media.
(6)    Shortcut Edition (2021). SUMMARY - Perfect Pitch: The Art Of Selling Ideas And Winning New Business By Jon Steel. Shortcut Edition.
(7)    Wise, S., Feld, B. (2017). Startup Opportunities: Know When to Quit Your Day Job. John Wiley & Sons.
(8)    A Winning 3-Minute Startup Pitch: 9 Things You Should Focus On https://www.ilab.ceu.edu/articles/a-winning-3-minute-startup-pitch-9-things-you-should-focus-on
(9)    How to Write & Deliver the Perfect Business Pitch https://fleximize.com/articles/013910/write-and-deliver-perfect-pitch
(10)    How To Pitch an Idea in 6 Steps https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/idea-pitch
(11)    12 Pitch Tips for the Perfect Business Pitch https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/business/trends-and-insights/articles/12-easy-steps-to-a-perfect-pitch/
(12)    The Structure of the Perfect Pitch https://www.dave-bailey.com/blog/the-structure-of-the-perfect-pitch
(13)    How To Bounce Back From A Failed Startup Pitch https://www.thinklions.com/blog/failed-startup-pitch/
(14)    How to Sell an Idea to Your Boss (Infographic) https://www.entrepreneur.com/growing-a-business/how-to-sell-an-idea-to-your-boss-infographic/298582
(15)    Practice Your Pitch: 5 Techniques for Success https://startupnation.com/start-your-business/practice-your-pitch/
(16)    Practicing pitches https://mailchimp.com/courier/article/practice-your-pitch/
(17)    5 Tips for Delivering an Effective Pitch for Your https://www.inc.com/young-entrepreneur-council/5-tips-for-delivering-an-effective-pitch-for-your-services.html
(18)    Pitch Your Ideas To Your Boss Using These 7 Proven Strategies For Success https://www.forbes.com/sites/chriswestfall/2019/08/05/pitch-your-ideas-boss-7-proven-strategies-for-success/?sh=5088482a193c