Pitch sessions are the invention of the devil. I hate them. I loathe them. I will also never completely give up doing them because I believe that serendipity is alive and well, and I like to be ready when opportunity knocks (you should be too.)
I may loathe pitch sessions but I also understand that they terrify writers. Therefore my goal at a pitch session is to put you at ease, hear something about your project, and reassure you that I will not eat you for breakfast.
Here are the things you do that make me reach for the butter knife:
1. Introduce yourself and then follow it with "you rejected me."
Rejection is a part of this business. I've rejected one gazillion people and that was just last year. Telling me I rejected you makes me think you don't understand that it's part of the job. It also sets my teeth on edge. It also breaks the unspoken rule that we will be polite to each other. That's not a good start.
There's another way to say this: "I queried you on May 10 but it wasn't right for you. Thanks for replying."
2. Sit down, introduce yourself and then follow it with "I'm interviewing agents. Tell me a little bit about yourself."
My reply is "no." If I'm not annoyed past redemption I might say "tell me about your book." If I am annoyed, I'll just say no and sit there. I've negotiated with far scarier people than you and gotten what I wanted.
The reason this annoys the snot out of me is because you're NOT interviewing agents. You're at a pitch session. The purpose of a pitch session is to hear about your book. If at some point in the future you have a project that I'd like to represent, I'll be happy to tell you all the ways I'm the best agent for you and all those other slithery competitors are not.
Don't get ahead of yourself.
3. Sit down, introduce yourself and say "I wanted to meet you because I think you need to go to AA"
My reply is: I hope you mean change the size of the battery in my flashing helmet, because otherwise this conversation is over and one of us is leaving the table. You can choose which one.
Making ANY kind of comment about what you perceive to be an agent's personal failings is completely out of line. My duty to interact pleasantly with you ends when you think you're my mum.
4. Sit down, introduce yourself and say "I don't really want to get an agent but I know I need to have one."
My reply is: you don't have to have one, and I'm not going to talk you into it, nor do I want to debate the issue. I am a literary agent. Deal with it.
5. Sit down, introduce yourself and say "I memorized my pitch, here it is" then close your eyes and recite 150 words. I know you're nervous but you really have to look at me so I can smile reassuringly then stop you after ten words and ask you some questions that will help me figure out what your book is about.
In case you're wondering, all of these are based on actual experiences I've had at pitch sessions!