Book Review: Pitch Like a Girl

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Book Review: Pitch Like a Girl It’s no secret now-a-days that doing anything “like a girl” is viewed in our society as being negative: throw like a girl, run like a girl. When Ronna Lichtenberg wrote this book in 2005, over 9 years ago, she had already thrown out this idea.

In “Pitch like a Girl; Get Respect, Get Noticed, Get What You Want”, Lichtenberg encourages women to use their natural strengths to be successful when they pitch ideas.

First Thoughts

Lichtenberg’s style of writing is very personable; I found myself easily laughing at her jokes and tone throughout the book. That’s not to say she shies away from the difficult topics, it just means you’ll be smiling while you question your way of approaching work and pitching.

Basically, the book refutes the idea that women should simply “act like men” in business if they want to get ahead. In fact, she states quite convincingly that if you simply try to “act like a man”, it will hurt you rather than help you. Instead, she encourages women to pitch authentically, using their own strengths instead of borrowing someone else’s way of doing things.

Despite the title, this book would be fantastic for men to read as well. If you’ve ever wondered why women act a certain way or do certain things, this book pretty much spills the beans. Not only that, but the techniques she talks about actually apply to anyone pitching, not just women. I’d recommend reading “Getting to Yes” by Roger Fisher and William Ury and then reading this one.

The Big Ideas

I walked away with some pretty awesome take-aways. Here are a few of her major ideas:

The smart pitchers will focus on pain points in their prospects. Instead of focusing on yourself and what your offering is, make sure you explain how their problem will be solved by your offering – why it’s a win for them.

I loved her pitch breakdown in chapter 8. She explains exactly what your pitch should include in three points. Incredibly helpful as you refine your own pitches.

The idea of pink and blue brains (not necessarily associated with gender) was insightful. Pink brains want to connect, whether it’s about their kids, their personal lives, or favorite sports teams. Blue brains are all about the facts. They want to get straight down to business with statistics and figures. Striped brains lean one way or the other depending on the situation. I figured I was a blue brain (I am a programmer, after all), but after taking her test, I’m actually striped.

And as soon as I started reading about pink/blue brains, I started spotting them everywhere I went. Guy barista at Starbucks: pink; girl friend I had coffee with: total blue; older brother: striped. I can see how it’d be helpful to know going into a pitching situation.

The majority of men miss almost 70% of non-verbal communication. While this obviously isn’t all men (I know some men that are really good at non-verbal signals), it does explain some disconnect in communication.

She did share some harsh statistics (for women) about the wage gap. According to a study of Carnegie Mellon master’s graduates by Linda Babcock, Ph.D., only 7% of the women compared to 57% of the men negotiated their salary. Alone, that didn’t surprise me. I had actually heard that before. What did surprise me was the next part: those who negotiated their salaries earned about $4,000 more, which was the average difference between the men’s and women’s starting salaries. Pretty powerful when you realize that simply pitching better could practically close the gender wage gap.

Finally, in connection with pink/blue brains, she goes through detailed information on how to pitch. There’s so much good stuff in there, I’ll have to just let you read it. But I will definitely be using some of her techniques next time I pitch!

Summary

Of course I’d recommend this book – both to women and men. In fact, if you read it or have read it, I’d love to hear your take on it!

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