Nine writing tips for a knockout PhD pitch


Researchers know planning lies at the heart of successful projects, and it’s no different with writing your PhD pitch or presentation.

Your pitch is the launch pad for great communications and great results after your research. Without planning, neither of these will get far off the ground.

How you write a pitch on your sophisticated research results can make all the difference to your career, your future, or further funding.

Your PhD pitch starts with purpose and intention and ends with an outcome.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. Leonardo Da Vinci.

Whoever you are and whatever you do beyond your PhD — academic, executive, sales person, community activist, journalist, teacher, continuing student — you want your words to carry your purpose and intention to influence your readers to think or act in a specific way:

  • Fund your research
  • Support your cause
  • Read your results
  • Attend your course
  • Publish your material.

What do you do if you’re not a natural writer? How do you overcome the dreaded writer’s block? Where do you find ideas when your brain is empty?

Plan writing your PhD pitch with a proven formula

You fall back on a proven formula. You plan.

Let’s set out the nine vital questions you need to ask and answer to make not just your pitch but also every writing project a winner. If you want to boost your effectiveness at writing in a professional setting, these will help you tame the tyranny of the blank screen or page.

By addressing these questions upfront, you create a writing plan that will:

  • Help you decide whether your pitch is feasible
  • Expose the gaps you must fill before you proceed
  • Give you a clear sense of purpose and direction, and set out a logical roadmap to make the writing easier.

You wouldn’t dream of exploring an unfamiliar country, region, or city without a map. Writing’s no different. Before you pen or key a word, ask and honestly answer these vital questions:

  1. Why are you about to write this pitch or presentation? (Purpose)
  2. Who are you trying to reach or influence? (Targets)
  3. What do you want them to know and think? (Intention)
  4. What do they know about you and your project right now? (Your value)
  5. Why should they listen to what you’re about to write? (Credibility)
  6. How can you best support your pitch to get your message across? (Medium)
  7. What do you want them to do after listening to your pitch? (Result)
  8. What is their attention span? (Will they respond to long, detailed descriptions, or punchy features and benefits?)
  9. What kind of language will they readily understand and respond to? (Should your tone be logical, descriptive, narrative, provocative, teasing, humorous?)

You’ll discover that answering these questions in the planning stage gets you more than half way to your goal. They will help you deliver a power-packed PhD pitch or presentation that those you want to influence will understand and respond to.

If you want to learn how to write a serious pitch for serious results, you can find out more about our next PowerPitch program for PhD candidates here.