When I was in grad school working on my PhD, I was also a research scientist at a startup company called Crystallume. We were working to commercialize thin film diamond, a very hot topic at the time. I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to do business when they could be doing science. In fact, our VP of Marketing, Laurie Conner, told me that, "Everything is marketing!" and I (privately) thought she was crazy.
So what am I doing, these many years later, teaching entrepreneurs how to pitch instead of doing research in the lab? It turns out that, in a way, Laurie was absolutely right. Not because science and engineering and product development and accounting and sales and management and so on aren't important - they most certainly are. But here's the thing: if you don't figure out how to get people interested in what you are doing, you won't get the resources you need to make them happen.
Still, not many technical people are great at pitching their ideas to business people (nor vice versa, I might add, although the stakes aren't generally as high in that direction) and most find pitching to be a necessary evil, for instance when applying for a government grant or for investment. In contrast, I love getting other people excited about what I'm doing or, for that matter, what my coaching clients are doing. It turns out that I love pitching and I love teaching.
As the saying goes, if all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. I may have a tendency to feel that way about pitching, but the fact is that pitching is part of our daily lives. Any time you try to convince someone to do something that they weren't planning to do already, you are pitching them. At work, you may pitch for an increased budget or a raise or a new job; with your friends, you may have to pitch them on a restaurant you'd like to try or a movie you'd like to see; you may pitch your family on your preference for a vacation destination and you pitch your significant other when you propose marriage (or moving in together or whatever).
So we all pitch all the time. The one thing you've probably learned in the process is that you're generally more successful when you consider the other person's perspective and try to convince them how they'll benefit from agreeing with you rather than just focusing on why your choice is great for you. You consider the needs and wants of the others who you want to invest their time and energy doing what you want to do.
Get Better at Pitching
Of course, your chances for success also go up dramatically if you can give good, solid reasons for agreeing with you. Building a great case supporting your perspective might not be so important when you're trying to pick a restaurant or a movie because the stakes are low, but as the stakes go up so should the quality of your argument. And if you're asking professional investors to part with some of their money, the stakes don't get much higher than that - not to mention the fact that you have a ton of competition.
If you pay attention, you'll notice that you pitch early and often throughout most days. Pay more attention and discover what you do that increases your success rate when you pitch less important things and see if they might translate to more formal pitches. Do your homework so that you can be reliably convincing as to why what you want to do is the best and smartest option. Tune your words to the ears of your audience: attain Perfect Pitch.