Welcome to the first issue of the Pitch DNA Insider. You’ve joined a select group of thought leaders, startup founders and industry go-getters who are committed to mastering the art (and science) of pitching.
15-plus years ago, I was living on the West Coast, working for a startup by day and taking comedy classes at night. For “graduation,” I would finally have the chance to perform my new standup set in front of a packed crowd. It was a dream of mine since I was twelve. Best of all, it was going to be at the world-famous Hollywood Improv—the club with the faux brick wall that I had watched on TV throughout my teens.
In the days leading up to the event, I felt slightly nauseated. Hours before showtime, my nausea turned to a low-grade terror. Minutes before I was called on stage, my mouth went dry and my head hummed with nerves. On stage, the lights blinded me. I don’t remember much after that. When I left the stage (to tepid, but friendly applause), I knew that I hadn’t bombed, but I definitely did not do well, either.
It didn’t matter. The experience was transcendent. I was hooked. I knew I had to persist... to push through the challenges. I was determined to learn how to craft better material and to speak in a dynamic and entertaining way. I wanted to master this elusive art, one that required no equipment or costumes, just a willingness to write thousands of jokes, rehearse for thousands of hours and give thousands of performances.
Over time, things changed and I wanted something else for my life. I wanted to unlock the secrets of powerful communicators and move audiences towards something more meaningful than just laughter. It wasn’t about moving away from humor (in fact, it’s more important to me now than ever). I just wanted to be part of something that was bigger than I could understand at the time.
For the past six years, I’ve turned my focus on helping people who are inventing the future—thinkers and doers who are determined to change the world—people who have something to stay, something to build and most of all, something to stand for.
Speaking continues to enrich my life in more ways than I can count, and I want the same for you. Pitch DNA is about creating something bigger than you or I can imagine—something we can build together.
On the 15th of every month, I’ll share fresh ideas to help you raise your own game. Some will come straight from my Pitch Mastery workshops and conferences, some from the web, and a few from my Aunt Doris (she’s good!)
So, let’s get to it.
The Pitch DNA Insider Issue 100
Widescreen Talks: How to Speak Up for Yourself
I have got to say, this is one of my favorite TEDx talks. Not only does social psychologist Adam Galinsky share easy tips to navigate tricky social situations and expand your personal power—he does it while rocking both a windowpane plaid suit AND a goatee. Hi-yo!
Hot Blogs & Mustard: Barking Up the Wrong Tree
Why do some people exude more confidence than others? How do bomb disposal experts maintain grace under pressure? Why is body language a critical component of masterful pitching? Eric Barker’s entertaining blog deconstructs each topic with science, humor and practical ways to make it so.
Quiz: Why does Jean-Luc Picard say “Make it so” to Number One? Reply to this email with your answer (and don’t cheat by Googling it or I’ll beam you into a Rick Astley video).
Invest in Yourself: Rev.com Turns Your Talks into Text
One of the fastest ways to enhance your pitches and presentations is to record and listen to your presentations. Even better? Transcribe them so you can see if you’re nailing your message. One of my colleagues turned me on to Rev.com. For $1 a minute, they’ll take your video or audio and transform it, word-for-word, into a text document.
Bonus Tip: If you’re working on a book but don’t have a lot of time for sit-down writing, record your ideas on your phone’s audio app and upload it to Rev.com, then send off to your editor/writing partner to shape it into a rock-solid piece of writing bravado or the next Ulysses.
See you next month!
Founder, Pitch DNA
PS. I rely on your feedback. If you have ideas to help me improve this newsletter or topics you’d like me to cover, please email me. And of course, if you find the Pitch DNA Insider valuable, send to a friend so they know how smart, charming and witty you are.