A classice simple structure for your presentation/pitch
One simple structure for a presentation/pitch is 1. Hook them to listen, 2. Deliver your key message(s) 3. Cover housekeeping 4. Share principles that support your key message. 5. Summarize your key messages. 6. Handle questions. 7. Close with your key message/call to action.
Let me elaborate on the first step ‘Hook them to listen’. A valuable piece of advice that pitching coach, Gail Geronimos, gives to her entrepreneur clients when pitching to investors (and which I agree with) is this: ‘You have 20 seconds to increase my heart rate’. What this means, is that within 20 seconds of starting to speak, if the entrepreneur’s ideas and their delivery have not increased the heart rate of the investor(s) (that is, got them excited and hooked them to want to hear more) – the person is not getting the money for his/her venture.
This ‘you have 20 seconds to increase my heart rate’ is a great idea to keep in mind for any presentation or interaction. There have been millions of business presentations/pitches delivered in the world in the last week – and most of them have been mediocre. Having a great hook to listen will separate your pitch from the mediocre pack.
Another pitching coach is David S. Rose. Below is Rose’s TED presentation on pitching to VCs. Rose crams a lot of information into his 15 minutes presentation. I wouldn’t recommend his presentation technique but his messages are very valuable – particularly his message that investors buy ‘You’ – your ‘Passion’ and your ‘Integrity’.
One technique to hook an audience in a group presentation is to make a short, simple statement that ties into your key message. One hook statement I have used for one of my presentation is: ‘Energy is 70% of a job – if you don’t have it, be nice’. (I read this somewhere. If you know the reference for the quote, please send it to me). This statement, as of this time, usually hooks my audiences to listen and answers their unstated question, ‘Why should I listen to you?’
The ‘how to apply‘ for this post is: For your next presentation/pitch think of a short, simple statement that expresses a truth and that you can tie into your key message. Make sure to pause after the statement to let it sink in.