15 questions to answer to understand your prospect

 In Message creation

Following on from last week’s post, below are more questions to understand your prospect/client before a pitch.

1. How long should this presentation run for? 2. Is my content/tone of this pitch geared to the format and environment? 3. Are any PowerPoint slides needed? (Slides are best used for displaying things other than words. That is, for images, graphs, charts. Each slide should support your key message. One of the best ways to use words is to display a short quotation on a slide. Always read the quotation aloud particularly if it’s used to get a laugh – as people’s reading speeds vary). 4. What slides could be omitted? (In your PowerPoint go to Slide Sorter and be brutal in eliminating any slide, particularly slides with only words).

5. Have I inserted black slides between my image etc. slides to control audience attention? (In Slide Show, in PowerPoint if you press ‘b’ on the keyboard it makes the screen go black. Press ‘b’ again for the slide to reappear). 6. Does each slide have just one point? 7. If I am using words on a slide, are there no more than five lines with five words per line? 8. Is the font size large enough for a person at the back of the room to easily read it?

9. What video clip could I use that supports my key message? (search YouTube or similar sites for clips that tie into your key message. Finding a clip that features a luminary that the audience respects and ties into your key message is ideal, and could be used for your opening ‘hook). 10. Do my video clips run for no more that 40 seconds? 11. When and where should you deliver the pitch? 12. What place/venue could you deliver the pitch to make it have more impact?

13. How can you make the pitch positively memorable? (Millions of business pitches/presentation have occurred in the world in the last week. How many of them were mediocre? Millions. Make sure yours isn’t mediocre. In an upcoming post I’ll share a story how a prop was used memorably in a pitch). 14. What shouldn’t be said? (this question fits in with the principle of ‘Less is more’). 15. What words, graphs, charts could be omitted?

The ‘how to apply’ for this post is this: Before an upcoming meeting, ask yourself, ‘What shouldn’t be said?’ Then don’t say it in the meeting. After the meeting reflect on the impact, if any, of omitting it.

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