Spotlight On … Paul Boross

Paul Boross is also known as The Pitch Doctor; a company he founded to help corporate companies win business through ‘the art and science of persuasion’. He has worked with major organisations such as the BBC, Google, The Financial Times and MTV, and has released several books on motivational psychology. This month we met Paul to discuss how his entrepreneurial spirit has navigated his career, and how ‘influencing with integrity’ is the most important tool in securing business.

Based in London, The Pitch Doctor is Paul Boross, and he has a clear mission and message:

“To help people and companies become more successful by improving the quality and impact of their communications.”

Assisting Paul on his mission is an experienced team of trainers and executive coaches, hand-picked by him for their enthusiasm, energy and balance of skills. Between them, The Pitch Doctor assesses a client’s symptoms, makes a diagnosis, and issues a prescription. Paul has a wide range of clients, from Barclays bank to the NHS, and travels all over the world to deliver his bespoke service:

“I work on a consultancy basis across a huge variety of different industries and organisations. My clients are PR and advertising executives, digital technology players, CEOs, boards of directors, sales teams – it doesn’t matter who you are or what your business is, you have to be able to pitch, present and persuade. Essentially, you need to know exactly how to get people on board with your ideas. The Pitch Doctor teaches you how to do that. You might have a life-changing idea, but if you can’t convince other people of this, then you have no business at all.”

Paul’s personal career path has been as diverse as his professional portfolio. He originally studied psychology, but showbusiness came calling before he put it into practice, and he toured the world playing guitar in several bands, as well as being a regular headline act at London’s prestigious The Comedy Store:

“Showbusiness may seem vastly different to what I do now, but it honed my skills in pitching and public speaking. The Pitch Doctor is the result of fusing both sides of my experience together – psychology and performance. People rarely encapsulate the two things, and this is what makes The Pitch Doctor so unique.”

These past endeavours also assist Paul in demonstrating his entrepreneurial spirit and building up strong relationships with his clients:

“Whatever the job, I’ve always started companies and made them work, and this gives me credibility. I firmly believe that to understand entrepreneurship, you have to have done it.”

The Pitch Doctor’s prescription could be one-to-one work with an individual, giving a talk to an organisation, or running an open ‘clinic’. Paul says:

“The Pitch Doctor is not an off-the-shelf service, it’s always tailored to the clients’ specific needs. With some companies, I spend a day there each month and operate as a drop-in clinic, where employees can book time with me about a pitch. Some people want to discuss body language. Other people want to overcome nerves for an important speech. It’s always different, and that’s one of the things I enjoy most about it.”

For those people who feel they are lacking in confidence, Paul says that it is possible to learn how to channel it:

“I can teach confidence to anyone. Even people who feel like they don’t have any at all – because everyone is actually confident in some area of their lives. It’s about extracting that confidence from one place and mapping it to somewhere else.”

Since 2005, Paul has regularly featured on Sky’s TV documentary series, School of Hard Knocks (SOHK). The programme follows the work of the SOHK charity, using challenging activities to teach young people important skills and values that will help them when taking the initial steps into the working world. Paul is the team psychologist and motivational coach, and the experience has made him even more passionate about teaching young people about pitching, to enable them to carve out successful careers. Paul says:

“Pitching is sadly neglected in school education. The curriculum doesn’t include public speaking, presentation, or job interview techniques – and these skills are essential for the working world. It’s evident when I work with corporate giants. You see big players – people who’ve been to the top universities, who have Masters and PhDs, and who are running global enterprises – but for all their qualifications, the thing they lack is being able to pitch, present and persuade. The advent of social media and digital technology also means that young people often think that they’ve networked simply by sending an email – but there’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction.”

Through his work on SOHK, Paul became involved with the IOEE, and he has now been an IOEE Fellow for three years. He relishes the opportunity to be able to use his experience to make a difference in the industry of enterprise and entrepreneurship:

“Last year I attended an IOEE event in London where we put together a proposal that advised the government on what we needed in the field of enterprise. Being a part of the IOEE means that I am able to meet with other entrepreneurs and pool all of our experience together to make a real difference.”

Paul says that his belief in The Pitch Doctor is what drives him, and as the company has just gone into its 14th year, he is still as passionate as when it began:

“It’s my business, but it’s also much more than that. I’m incredibly passionate about what I do. At the end of the day, I give people an insight into their professional lives that can change their personal lives – and their families’ lives – and I think that is an extraordinary thing to be able to do.”