Three Speaking Tips to Make Sure Your Business Pitch Resonates

The Business View – August 2016 / Small Business Corner


By: Ryan Foland


The person onstage reads the bullet points off the wall. She speaks so fast I can hardly understand. When she finishes, I have no idea what she was explaining.

We’ve all seen good presentations and we’ve all seen bad presentations. Here are three tips to make sure you take some basic steps to giving yourself a better chance at being someone who puts on a great presentation.


Start with a Story


People love stories, so give it to them. Start and end with a story.

Let me tell you a quick story. Did you know as soon as you read that last sentence you started to relax and become a little more engaged? That is because human beings are genetically wired to enjoy stories.

If you have a point to make, the best way to make it impactful is to use a story to illustrate.


Use Your Gestures to Increase Your Impact


Here is what to do with your hands: It’s totally okay to have your hands resting at your sides. It feels weird to you, but doesn’t look weird to the audience. One little trick to make it more comfortable to have your hands at your side is to just connect your index finger and thumb together. Doing this makes it feel less weird holding them down like this.


You can use your hands to emphasize a point, but make sure not to overuse gestures. This is especially true for large gestures. If you use a big hand or arm movement, it is very noticeable, and you need to make sure to use it sparingly.


Holding a gesture in place is a great way to ensure emphasis of a point.


Slow Down


If it feels awkward to you, then it is the right speed. Each of us has a natural pace of speaking. Some of us are faster, some are slower. There is no right or wrong speed, but as a general rule, you can slow your speaking rate by about 50 percent and still sound normal. Now, when you first try this, you will feel weird. It will feel like you are talking so slow.

A great way to start to slow down your speaking rate is to read passages out loud. Focus on placing more emphasis on certain words and leaving pauses.

Ultimately, what it comes down to for a successful pitch is preparation and practice.


Foland is a professional speaker who works to help start-up companies get off the ground. To learn more, follow him on Twitter at @ryanfoland or visit


Click here to read The Business View – August 2016