Crafting the Investor Pitch Using Insights from Rhetoric and Linguistics

  • Peter Daly
  • Dennis Davy
Part of the Communicating in Professions and Organizations book series (PSPOD)


Making a pitch is a key business soft skill, which should be mastered by business graduates as pitching is useful to sell an idea or product/service, to promote yourself in an interview situation, or to ask someone to invest in your idea. With pitching so crucial to business graduates, you might think that it would be a mandatory training module in business education. However, this sub-genre is often neglected or receives just a brief mention in general courses on making oral presentations, and students are often left to fend for themselves when faced with selling themselves or their ideas. As business educators, we believe that the pitch is teachable but there is a dearth of suitable pedagogical materials to help the instructor when asked to teach this skill to business students. There are various relevant class materials available, including books (O’Leary, 2008; Bayley & Mavity, 2008; Klaff, 2011; Coughter, 2012), articles with “to-do lists” (Walker, 2006; Martin, 2012; Pincus, 2007; Porter, 2011) and TED Talks (e.g. Rose, 2008). If we take Varga (2009) as an example, key advice is provided on pitching such as be passionate, know your audience, be clear about objectives, clothes are a communication tool, and think about benefits, not features. Although these considerations are important to be aware of, the reader comes away with a lot of questions such as: “How do I structure my pitch?”, “How can I be passionate?” and whether there is a linguistic or rhetorical framework to aid in the construction of a successful pitch. Furthermore, with the notable exception of Cunningham (2010), there is a definite lack of rhetorical and linguistic research into the salient features of a pitch and that is why we focus here on the canonical characteristics of the pitch.


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© Peter Daly and Dennis Davy 2016

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  • Peter Daly
  • Dennis Davy

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