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What makes a perfect pitch? Many people need to give presentations or pitches at some time or other as part of their jobs, but according to research by QHotels, more than half of people lack confidence in their public speaking skills.

But while not everybody can be a natural speaker, there are some surprisingly simple rules to writing an engaging speech that anybody can follow - and with the help of speechwriting expert Philip Collins, we're going to share those with you.

Philip Collins has worked as a journalist, a political adviser and an investment banker, and was Chief Speech Writer to former Prime Minister Tony Blair - making him perfectly placed to analyse the science behind making a persuasive pitch.

We asked him to analyse speeches made by five successful people - Steve Jobs, Seth Godin, Emma Watson, Ken Robinson and JK Rowling - to pick out the common threads in each and explain what they can tell us about becoming a better public speaker.

Find out more by exploring the elements which make a perfect pitch, below:

  • Memorable Phrases & Images

    Pictures carry ideas more memorably than words, as a rule.

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  • Strong Core Argument

    The centrepiece of every fine speech is a core argument. There has to be a message to impart or an important question to answer.

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  • Confident Delivery

    A good script, read out loud, is better than a bad script but it does not make a speech. That demands some individual magic.

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  • Sense of Personality

    Rowling puts herself into the speech and produces a speech that is not only personal but also highly effective.

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  • Steve Jobs' Commencement Speech

    Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love.

    Steve Jobs

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  • Seth Godin's How to Get Your Ideas to Spread

    The thing about the invention of sliced bread is this -- that for the first 15 years after sliced bread was available no one bought it; no one knew about it; it was a complete and total failure. And the reason is that until Wonder came along and figured out how to spread the idea of sliced bread, no one wanted it.

    Seth Godin

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  • Emma Watson's UN Speech

    I am reaching out to you because I need your help. We want to end gender inequality—and to do that we need everyone to be involved.

    Emma Watson

    Watch
  • JK Rowling's Commencement Speech

    I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure. And as you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called ‘real life’, I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination.

    JK Rowling

    Watch
  • Ken Robinson's How Schools Kill Creativity

    My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status

    Ken Robinson

    Watch
  • Download our Guide

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