Don’t be pitchy. Tips for good presentations.

You are sitting in a room full of your peers, listening to a speaker present. They are funny and engaging and you are really enjoying the whole thing. And then… like a chill draft blowing through the room, the whole energy changes. The presenter is staring straight ahead, the smile is forced, they start rattling off numbers and you are told that the first 10 of you to sign up can bring a guest for free! Yes, they have launched The Pitch.

We are told that we need to pitch at the end of the presentation. It’s when you make your ‘ask’; for more clients, more sales, students for your next workshop, whatever. There are a ton of courses out there that are supposed to train you how to pitch effectively. But here’s what gets me – everyone is using these techniques now. The whole thing where the presenter writes some ludicrous number on a whiteboard, saying that her coaching sessions are normally $10,000 (or whatever number), then telling you there is a reduced price and then offering some number a small fraction of the original to the first group of people to sign up tonight. Yes, I know that, due to cognitive bias we tend to accept the first number we are shown as the true one and compare all the other numbers to it. But because we have all seen this particular trick so many times before, I’m not going to be impressed that you have reduced your price from $10,000 to $1500 if I sign up right now; personally I am much more likely to be vaguely annoyed that it took you 10 minutes to tell me that your rate is $1500.

So here’s the thing; unless you have some new technique that involves physical and mental gymnastics the likes of which we have never seen before, it is unlikely that many people are going to be sucked in to your pitch. If you want to try something revolutionary, why not simply leave the pitch out entirely?

I’m a big believer in the ‘soft sell’. If you’ve been speaking to a group of people for 30-40 minutes, they have a pretty good idea already of who you are, what you do and whether or not they want to do business with you. Do you really need to spend 5-10 minutes, the last bit of time you have with your audience, potentially alienating them? There is nothing wrong with an ‘ask’ – after all, that’s why you are there, but remember that the same rules that apply to good presentations apply here as well.

  • Keep it relevant. Remember who you are speaking to and what their particular needs are. Are these business people looking for stress management? Massage therapists looking for continuing education credits? Concerned parents with children struggling in school? What do you have to offer each of these groups?
  • Keep it short. Enough said.
  • Be genuine. Don’t turn into a smarmy salesperson, keep the same tone and integrity that you have displayed throughout your talk.

Sorry for the rant, but these are things we can all improve on to be more effective in getting the word out about Specialized Kinesiology and what it can do.

Do you have any tips for great presentations? Any pet peeves about ‘pitching’? Share them here.

We’re all in this together!


Coming through clearly in a noisy world – Marketing and branding with Alexis Costello

(This is the Conference Journal paper for the International Association of Specialized Kinesiology conference in Bergamo, Italy, April 2017. For more information about the conference or to register, visit


Historically, health practitioners of all sorts have been keepers and sources of information. We go to school, study the body, read the books, learn through experience, and then, clients (patients) come to us with their questions. It has worked this way for many years. But in an information age – when anyone can Google anything and people are used to receiving unlimited quantities of information for free at the click of a button – how do we attract clients and students and set ourselves apart?

This is why we need to investigate the concepts of marketing and personal branding more closely. When you think of the word ‘marketing’ you may have an idea of television commercials, tacky billboards, or an irritating jingle that you can’t get out of your head, but this isn’t the approach that we are going for. Marketing can mean putting quality content out into the world that helps people who are aligned with our energy and goals find us.

It’s that simple.

People are no longer coming to practitioners in order to find out what vitamins will help their symptoms – they can do that online. They come to you to experience your personal energy and story. Who you are (not just which courses you have taken or schools you have attended), really matters.

This is a huge topic and many books have been written on the subject. Unfortunately, we only have a few minutes together in Bergamo, so we need to stay focused and I will keep this very short! We will discuss:

  • Why ‘Marketing’ is not distasteful for holistic practitioners, but a necessary part of our business world
  • How a personal brand is an easy and fun way to market your business with full integrity
  • Why it is important to understand your Core Values in business. We will do a little exercise together to help determine these values, which then form the base of your marketing strategy

In a world that has become increasingly noisy it is important to be clear in your message. An understanding of the points above means that your website, your articles, your social media, and your one-on-one interactions with people, all sing the same message so your clients and students know exactly who you are and what you stand for.

This is going to be fun!


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