I consider every conversation that I have about our business with new people a pitch, and learned on my own flesh a few lessons that I'd like to share. I hope that the mistakes I made will shorten the learning curve for others:
Hear/research the needs of who you pitch to. Then connect your pitch to it.
A pitch is about conveying value in few words. You have a slim chance of doing that if you don't know what the other side wants or needs. Steer the conversation towards them at first to learn more about what they do. Adjust your pitch accordingly.
Pitch to relevant people.
Your pitch may have more chance of finding enthusiasm if you pitch to people from your field. If they're not then you'll have to explain it to them and why it's needed. You can do it as a practice but don't expect them to connect right away.
Don't use jargon
Use plain words and no self-compliments unless you add data to it.
❌ LESS: "All-in-one, end-to-end, platform for self-learning"
✅ More: "We help self-learners find learning resources, discussion partners, jobs, and motivation"
❌ LESS: "Most self-learners have a job problem. Our superior integration platform eases the process for them"
✅ MORE: "Of the 420 self-learners we interviewed, 80% reported they can't find a job. We already helped 200 of them find jobs."
Don't defend your idea.
Once you spoke your pitch, if they reply or criticize your idea/pitch, listen. Take a mental note of what didn't click for them and ask more about it. Write it all down afterwards.
Choose very carefully what to defend, a thumb rule is only further explain if they didn't understand something, not if they disagree.
Let your pitch sink in.
People need time to digest. I've had people criticizing the very existence of my business only to join the team a couple of weeks later. Let them think. Let them connect the dots. Connecting to the lesson #4, if you start defend it you'll only dig them deeper in their first impression. Let their minds work.