Your Idea is Only as Good as the Way You Present It – 6 Ways to Improve Your Pitch


Eureka! Like a lightning bolt you have a creative solution to a BIG problem. It will take some creative thinking and changing the way we’ve always done things, and it will work. But when you present your idea to senior leadership, or City Council, it falls flat. You know this idea will work – you have the data, the logic, the plan. Why can’t you generate support? Perhaps it’s not the idea, but the way you’re presenting it.

Getting buy-in on a new idea is a critical component of creating positive change in your organization. A few tweaks to your approach could improve your presentation and communication skills – are you ready to put that next big idea into action?


1) Start with the end

Before you utter your first word, determine how you want the presentation to end. Define what you want from your audience – funding, approval, participation on a committee? Craft your presentation around your desired outcome.

2) It’s not about you

This presentation is not about you, it’s about your audience and your idea. What does your audience already know about your subject? How much do they care about it; if they don’t care, how can you convince them it matters? What pain point can your idea alleviate?

The most engaging speakers quickly introduce their idea, explain why they care about it, and convince the audience members that they should, too.

3) It’s a little bit about you

OK, I lied. A successful presentation is a little bit about you. Good ideas inspire. Don’t be afraid to show your enthusiasm and passion. The worst thing you could do is come to the table with negative, bored, or flat energy. Remember, energy is contagious; make sure you’re sharing the right kind. Here are four things to consider with talking with the public to help you prepare for next time.

4) Tell stories

Last blog post I talked about how to tell effective stories. It makes a difference. Stories help listeners emotionally connect with an idea. It helps your audience imagine themselves as part of the solution.

5) Use visuals

They say a picture is worth a thousand words for a reason. Visuals are processed 60K times faster than text. Physically show your idea in action and the results it can create.

6) Don’t tell people what to do

Judging by the reaction of my seven-year-old when I ask her to brush her teeth, I’ve gathered that people – regardless of their age – don’t want to be told what to do. People want to make their own decisions. Your job is to present information clearly, compellingly, with passion and compassion to guide their thought process. And instead of telling your audience what to do, you lead them to understanding that your idea is the right solution.

The way you present your ideas can impact your success. What other tips would you offer to those trying to advance a new idea or innovation? Share your examples of success or lessons learned below.

Kim Newcomer is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Christina Galeassi

Thanks for the great post, Kim. That’s right on- I never remember numbers but stories do stick with me. I think that catchy songs and humor stick with me, too.

Kim Newcomer

Thanks, Christina. And songs definitely stick with me too; but it’s usually the really bad ones that I can’t get out of my head!