#FixMyPitch—Children’s Hunger Alliance

Children's Hunger AllianceChildren’s Hunger Alliance submitted their pitch via Twitter as part of the #FixMyPitch contest we did with Beth Kanter. They weren’t a winner because their pitch didn’t need enough fixing. However, it’s a perfect example of how small tweaks can make a huge impact on your pitch.

Bear in mind that, unlike Seacoast Science Center and Pacific Education Institute, where I did a coaching session with them, I haven’t chatted with the fine folks at Children’s Hunger Alliance. What follows is the type of thinking and pondering I’d do if I were them and wanted to improve my pitch by making a series of minor adjustments.

The Pitch: Children’s Hunger Alliance ensures all children are fed regular and nutritious meals and develop lifelong healthy eating habits.

You want your pitch to be a triple threat: concise, compelling and repeatable.  Weighing in at a mere 16 words, this pitch is fairly concise. But, because of word choice, it’s neither compelling nor repeatable. (Insert sad trombone.)

Here are some thoughts on making this pitch more compelling and repeatable, while keeping it concise.

  1.  ‘Ensure’ is a fine word in writing, but it isn’t a word people say naturally in casual conversation (and, if they do, they sound like a robot, which isn’t very compelling). You up the odds of your pitch being repeated by using the more casual, spoken version. Easy fix for this particular word: switch to ‘make sure’.
  2. ‘…children are fed’ uses passive voice. The work you do isn’t passive, don’t let your voice be! Try something like, “We make sure all children get…”
  3. When we speak, it’s more common to say ‘kids’ than ‘children’. There is no right or wrong on this one. There are legitimate reasons to stick with ‘children’. Many organizations I work with feel that ‘children’ is more respectful. Just know that when others talk about your work, there’s a good chance they’ll say ‘kids’.
  4. Your ‘know’ pitch should speak directly to the one thing you want to be known for. One. In this pitch, it’s hard to tell what’s more important: the regular meals or the lifelong healthy eating habits. I know it’s hard to pick. You want to say it’s both, but you need to prioritize. Do you want to be known for the meals or the eating habits?

Depending on the answer to #4, you could go one of two directions with your ‘know’ pitch:

Option A: We make sure all kids get healthy meals on a regular basis.

Option B: We make sure all kids develop healthy eating habits. (Note: ‘Lifelong healthy eating habits’ is mega-awkward to say. To those not seeped in the work, ‘healthy eating habits’ implies longevity.)

It’s pretty easy to imagine two parents hanging out on the school playground waiting to pick up their kids and one of them saying, “I just learned about Children’s Hunger Alliance. Have you heard of them? They make sure all our kids get healthy meals on a regular basis.” Or “They make sure all our children develop healthy eating habits.” Tougher to convince yourself that a parent would, in casual playground convo, say “They ensure all children are fed regular and nutritious meals and develop lifelong healthy eating habits.” See the difference?

Ideally, your ‘know’ pitch will weigh in at 10 words or less. Option A is 12 words, so a tidge long. Option B is 9. Either way, my hunch is if you make these types of small adjustments to your pitch, you’ll start to get some traction.

Good job, Children’s Hunger Alliance—thanks for all you do to help kids!

Want more help with your messaging? Check out our free Messaging Toolkit.

Pitching women in tech [infographic]

It’s no accident that infographics are all the rage these days. Our brains readily absorb info in tidy visual packages. It forces brevity and therefore helps us avoid Pitchfall #3 (“you talk too much”).

Below is great example of an infographic that blends interesting info (only 8% of venture-backed startups have women leaders…ugh) with a subtle pitch (getting an MBA can help close the gender gap).

Getting more women into tech has been an uphill battle. There are lots of different groups chipping away at it and progress is being made, but it’s tough to get a sense for how much progress. We need a shot of optimism that the gap is shrinking.

Obviously, education plays a huge role in bridging this gap. With this infographic, MBA Online, makes it easy to see how far we’ve come and, by being the creator of the graphic, plants the seed that getting an MBA could be a great move if you’re a woman interested in tech.

Sometimes, letting the words take a backseat to some visuals is a mighty fine way to make your pitch.

The Rise Of Women In Tech

Pitchfalls (a free eBook to help you unleash your awesome)


UPDATE: This little gem was so popular I turned it into a mini-book!  Get your copy today.

The word ‘pitch’ has such a bad rap. It’s sad, really. Because a pitch is your ticket to conversations that lead to more people engaged with you and your awesome work.

There’s a lot of similarity between people’s pitch glitches. They can, in fact, be categorized. I shared three reasons why bad pitches happen to good people a few weeks back. What I didn’t tell you was what to do about all this bad pitching.

In Pitchfalls: why bad pitches happen to good people (a FREE sneak peak), I share the top five reasons that people stumble when delivering a pitch. I explain why it happens and, most importantly, how to fix it.

I wrote the eBook knowing it would be read by busy people–people like you who want to making the world a better place, have a great pitch to help you do it, but can’t quite find the time to make it happen. You can dramatically improve your pitch in less than 10 minutes. So can your staff and board. Really, you can. 

For those of you who can’t wait to know what the top five Pitchfalls are, here you go.

  1. You sound like  a robot
  2. You talk about yourself
  3. You talk too much
  4. You use jargon
  5. You sound like a talking tagline
If any of these sound familiar (or intriguing), buy your very own copy of Pitchfalls and get the full scoop!


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?