Date of Award

8-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Professional Communication

Advisor

Williams, Sean

Committee Member

Hilligoss , Susan

Committee Member

Gartner , William

Abstract

An entrepreneur faces many challenges in the quest to bring an idea to fruition, and the first step in gaining financial support most commonly comes in the form of a pitch. The goal is always ultimately to persuade investors in the validity and profitability of a product or idea. A wealth of information currently exists in helping entrepreneurs create pitch content as well as giving advice on presentation skills. While this information is important for consideration, the vast majority of available knowledge hovers in the intuitive realm.
Little to no quantitative, academic research exists on the actual use of language in an oral presentation. Therefore, this thesis intended to conduct a micro linguistic analysis of the entrepreneurial pitch in order to determine what linguistic devices were employed at different textual levels within the pitch that may have a yet unrecognized, but significant, impact on the decisions of investors.
Borrowing theory developed by scholars like Schiffrin, Widdowson, and Lakoff and Johnson, an analysis of the syntactic structure of fourteen pitches at the word, sentence, and meta level was conducted with the intention of producing a general rubric influenced by linguistic theories and research.
This study adds new insights to the growing body of research by showing what linguistic elements of an entrepreneurial pitch may affect the persuasiveness of a pitch. Advice is given concerning specific and general elements that had a quantifiable effect in the study and are useful for an entrepreneur to be aware of when crafting a pitch.

Included in

Communication Commons

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