Launching and running talent agency Sixteenth has helped Danny Lowney fine-tune his approach to pitching.
I’ve never taken on investment, so haven’t ‘pitched’ in the traditional sense, but I learned very quickly that every conversation becomes a pitch. This could be to a new client or just chatting to your mates – I actually found myself pitching to friends and family a lot in the early days, and it was a really valuable way to hone my ideas and convince myself I had a valid business on my hands. I’m a huge fan of throwing ideas around, and talking is a way of thinking actively. It forces me to consolidate my ideas.
I create space in my calendar by booking meetings with myself, and these need to be significant blocks of hours (or even days) at a time where I can properly think. Deep thought is so important and there is a lot of soul-searching, and you can uncover some big issues. If you make sure you have time to do this, then pitching your ideas naturally follows.
Be your best self
If I work out in the morning, then I’ll get a natural endorphin rush that gives me a different energy when I talk. Everyone has a routine that helps them get in the zone, and my recommendation is to keep your routine similar, even on big pitch days. I don’t have a special pitch outfit and I’ve actually had moments where I’m trying on a shirt and have to catch myself and think: ‘No, this isn’t me’. If you’re going into a situation where you're presenting yourself in an inauthentic way, then it’s probably a sign that it’s not the right conversation for you to be having.
Choose the right environment
Try to control the terms of engagement for the pitch as much as possible; if you can get it on home territory, then that’s ideal. For example, I know that I work well in busy cafés with a long black and loads of things going on around me, so if I can invite the person I’m pitching to for a coffee, then that’s great for me. However, if you know you’re someone who needs total silence to focus, make sure you’re not about to walk into a hectic situation. I know some people who like to pitch ideas while walking – it just depends on what works for you.