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How To Pitch Your Manuscript In A Meeting

When you are chasing the dream of becoming a successful published author, you may not realize how close you are. In every figurative race, there will be that moment when you get close enough to feel the finish line. You just know that you are going to make it unless something bad or unexpected happens.

In the creative world of writing, bad things happen and you don’t even know about them. How is this possible? You have been invited to pitch your manuscript, the publishers seem to like your idea and then you hear that they do not want to progress further. Chances are you blew the meeting, your one big chance to impress and it failed.

If you have great material, it is time for you to become better at meetings about that material. If you are hearing a lot of compliments about your work and you are not actually closing the deal, you are not making progress.

You’re potentially going the wrong way, botching one opportunity after another –and getting ushered out the door with compliments to help grease your exit.

Maybe it’s time to learn how to get in the room with decision-makers and crush those high-stakes meetings? Remember your goal is to make the deal and the best compliment is getting paid for your work.

Studies show that the three most persuasive words to conquer a meeting were – ‘Yeah,’ ‘Give’ and ‘Start’.

Researchers Kim and Rodin discovered the following:

Yeah: The researchers said they were initially surprised that saying "yeah" was so effective but then believed that "framing a suggestion as an agreement with a previous suggestion increases its chances of being accepted."

So whether attendees used "yeah" to agree with a colleague, or just convey the appearance of an agreement while at the same time introducing their own ideas, it tended to move the meeting forward and therefore increase the possibility of their idea being successfully received, too.

If you have ever read the book by Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, he made a similar argument.

Give: The researchers found that "give" came up in several contexts, such as your idea "giving" something of value to them or another person. But it also served as recognition of what the publisher already knew heading into the meeting; for example, beginning a sentence with a phrase like "given these guidelines…" could provide a common ground when framing an idea.

Start: This word allowed for basic quick agreements. For example, beginning a  meeting with a question like "Shouldn’t we start with the most important parts?" can allow the important attendees to signal their willingness to be proactive.

So practice your pitch and memorise it perfectly so the words just flow naturally.

As well as the clever use of words in your pitch I just have to highlight a few more actions that will give you an advantage.

Be punctual. This goes without saying but plan your route well in advance and allow time for any unforeseen holdups.

Sit with a good strong posture, do not slouch in your seat and keep good eye contact throughout.

Remember, you believe strongly in your manuscript and in your own ability. Think positive. You have one chance to make it count.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Lesley Jones