The other day I had Guy Kawasaki give a speech at Singularity University’s Graduate Studies Program (you can watch the whole session here). One of our students asked Guy what he did to become to proficient at public speaking. Guy’s answer was simple and to the point:
“Thousands of hours of practice.”
There are a lot of things in life which you can hack. Where you can (and should) find shortcuts. Things you can delegate, automate or outsource. Things which can be done in a pareto-optimized way where 20% of the input yield 80% of the outcome.
And then there are things where you just have to put in the work. The things which do get better with practice. The things where you have to pay your duties. Public speaking (and thus pitching) is likely one of those (as is playing tennis — ask Serena Williams).
I have yet to see someone present who didn’t get better after practicing her spiel over and over again. When I work with entrepreneurs on their pitches I often tell them that they have to go on a hike, find a tree and pitch the tree at least 50 times before they are ready to present to an investor, potential partner or customer.
It took me my whole career (and arguably the time since I joined acting class in my primary school) to get to the point where I am today. And I am still just beginning.
Start practicing now. It takes time. And you WILL get better.