Pitch is a colloquial expression that denotes a rhetor’s effort to persuade someone about something. Sometimes pitches are referred to as Elevator Pitches, Startup Pitches, and Sales Pitches.

Pitches may be written documents yet more typically they are brief oral presentations of written documents. Pitches follow a great deal of thought, research, and planning. They are polished diamonds—i.e., your best, most focused, most researched thinking on a topic.

Key Terms: Ethos; Pathos; Logos

The Pitch, The Sales Pitch, The Entrepreneurial Pitch—these are variations on a theme: persuasion. Rhetors pitch to sell an idea, solution, partnership, or application.

  • Internal Pitches are pitches intended for other employees at your workplace
  • External pitches are given to audiences beyond your workplace.

People invariably endeavor to persuade others in home, school, and work contexts. That’s life. But a pitch is a little more refined than routine efforts at command and control. A pitch usually follows research, collaboration, revision, and editing. Pitches are very refined arguments and proposals about what a community, company, or individual should next in regards to a problem or opportunity. W

Pitches are delivered in a variety of media and genres:

  • a writer pitches a story idea to a magazine or book publisher
  • a job applicant pitches to the employer that their training and experience prepares them for a job.
  • a consulting company pitches its services to investigate a problem and to identify best solutions to real-world problems that matter to clients
  • an entrepreneur pitches for funding to develop an application
  • a business person pitches their services
    • to propose services (e.g., management, sales, or educational services)
    • to secure business opportunities (e.g., business plans)
  • a scientist or professor seeks funding to investigate applied or basic research questions (e.g., scientific proposals written to the NSF, National Science Foundation or NIH, National Institute of Health).

Advice on Pitching Startups

Effective pitches cohere around stories. Good stories around grounded in Customer Discovery as well as textual research.

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