It’s pitch time again. That means all of the following is happening right now at TPRC Towers …
♦ The Sharpies are out and sharp objects have been locked away
♦ The wall is plastered with visuals covered in serial-killer-type scrawl
♦ We’re arguing over the placement of a comma in a tagline
♦ Everyone thinks their area of expertise is the most important aspect of the pitch
♦ Everyone is wrong, because any sane human being can see that my element of the pitch is the very life or death of this company
♦ My genius is recognised only by myself
♦ I may have forgotten the first rule of Pitch Club
It’s true: putting together a pitch can turn a good-natured team of colleagues into Fleetwood Mac in their bitch diva heyday.
But why? It’s simple, really. Pitch time will be a very rough ride when I’m sat there looking at my ideas as my little babies. It can be the worst feeling in the world to have nurtured an idea into existence, cultivated it so it’s fully formed, invested all of my self-worth into it, only to have it knocked back by the team.
In my head, I’m all: “How dare you? How can you not recognise that this idea is the greatest idea ever? You are a myopic imbecile who knows nothing about visual communications; how dare you question my ideas!” But what comes out of my mouth is more: “I’ll take another look at it.”
I learned many years ago that internal tantrums and sulks are rarely good for creative process. The main reason you can’t be precious about ideas is that – as creative professional – great ideas should flow from you like swear words during a traffic jam. And so my golden rule of surviving writing a pitch is DON’T BE PRECIOUS.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s good to care about your ideas and stand your ground but your colleagues are there to test your ideas, to see if they bend or break. Yes, it can be long process. Yes, it can be a painful process. But it’s only by taking time, it’s only through testing ideas that we get to a finished pitch that perfectly sets out your vision for the client.
Whether the client agrees is a whole other thing.