Outside of the fields of play in sport, pitching for business can be one of the most competitive acts we engage in. It is wise going in to any pitch to assume that the competition is as good as you, that their proposal will be comparable, that their people are as talented.
So, as in sport, it is the performance on that day, at that moment, that counts.
In competitive sport this calls for a serious warm-up. In the nets (not that it did England much good this week), on the practice court, since the first ball, the first serve can set up the win. In my own sport, the warm up would take 60 minutes for a race of around 14 seconds. If you did not get to the first hurdle first, it was tough to win.
Pitches too can be won or lost in the first few moments. “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. (Will Rogers).
So a warm up, both physical and mental, is a good idea. The physical side means arriving with plenty of time to set up, decide who sits where, checking how and where materials are used, sightlines, temperature etc, etc, etc. All obvious, but even minor cock-ups can undermine confidence.
Mental preparation can be helped by spending time on the all important introductions and opening remarks. Getting through these with “easy authority “( Jan 28th post on Ken Clarke) sets you up for a great performance.