“Instant gratification takes too long.” – Carrie Fisher

As a communication strategist and pitch coach, I often have clients tell me, “You can’t say anything in 10 minutes.”

One client, who was pitching a room full of investors at the Paley Center in New York City, said, “Sam, there’s no way I can explain my company, team credentials, business model and exit strategy in 10 minutes.”

I said, “Kathleen, you don’t have 10 minutes. You’re going at 2:30 in the afternoon. Those investors will already have heard 15 other presenters. By that point, their eyes will be glazed over. You’ve got 60 seconds to get their eyebrows up.”

The good news is, we came up with a 60 second opening that not only got the interest and respect of that audience, it helped Kathleen Callendar of Pharma Jet land millions in funding and become selected as one of Business Week’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs of 2010.

(The full story is in this Fast Company article on How to Gain Buy-In to your Idea in 60 Seconds or Less. http://www.fastcompany.com/1751298/how-gain-buy-your-idea-60-seconds-or-less

So, what does that have to do with Super Bowl Sunday?

USA Today editors just selected the top 25 Super Bowl ads of the past 24 years … and all of them are 60 seconds or less.

Chances are, if you’ve seen them, you remember them and remember them … fondly.

They prove you can pack a lot into 60 seconds. You can win buy-in from target decision-makers, tell a compelling story and keep your brand and message top-of-mind, years after the fact.

As journalist Laura Petrecca reports in this article the winning ad “is the 1993 Nothing But Net commercial in which Michael Jordan and Larry Bird shoot an outlandish game of H-O-R-S-E ,” trying to out-do each other to win the right to dine on a McDonald’s Big Mac.”

http://www.freep.com/usatoday/article/1862001

What’s this mean for you?

What’s a communication you’ve got coming up? A communication in which you want to win buy-in from decision-makers and customers?

Don’t waste the first 60 seconds with preliminary, perfunctory remarks. No, “I’m glad to be here ….” Or “When Bob asked me to speak …” or “Before I start, let me …”

In this day and age of instant gratification, you will already have lost the hearts and minds of your audience if you start with … INFObesity.

Instead, jump into something intriguing that gets people’s eyebrows up. It’s the single best thing you can do to make sure your pitch, presentation, commercial or communication wins buy-in for what you care about.

Are you thinking, “I agree with the importance of doing this; I just don’t know how to do it.”

Want good news? My E.Y.E.B.R.O.W. TEST system shows you how to earn the attention and respect of any audience … in 60 seconds or less.

Discover for yourself why these techniques have been won raves from clients around the world (London, Geneva, Toronto and throughout the U.S.) and have helped people receive millions in funding while helping their products, services and business break out instead of blend in.

http://www.intrigueagency.com/products-page/eyebrow/

Purchase it today to instantly have these E.Y.E.B.R.O.W. TEST tips at your fingertips … so you can have people at hello next time you want their attention and respect.

Advertisements

I rediscovered an old friend today.

Reader’s Digest.

I’m visiting my sister and brother-in-law this weekend – Cheri and Joe Grimm – who have been running my business and website for the past 15 years.

They gifted me with a stay in a delightful bed and breakfast here in Los Osos, CA (on the coast 40 miles south of Hearst Castle).

I noticed a copy of Reader’s Digest on my night table, and impulsively took it with me this morning to read while enjoying my coffee and a fabulous view overlooking the bay.

After the first few pages, fond memories came flooding back.

I was first introduced to Reader’s Digest when my family and I would go to our Granny’s house in Eagle Rock, CA for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

If the weather was good, my sister, brother and cousins and I would play outside.

If the weather was bad, we were “banished” to the back porch.

And there, on the bookshelves, were stacks and stacks of Reader’s Digest.  On some particularly rainy weekends, we would work our way through years of issues.

I was once asked by a reporter where I got my “literary training.”  Did I study journalism in college, have an English degree or a Ph.D. in Communication?

No, no and no.

My teachers were Walter Farley (The Black Stallion series), Nancy Drew and Ed McBain (our librarian was a bit scandalized when this 12 year old kid checked out the racy 86th Precinct books from our small town, one-room library).

After delving into the May 2012 issue of RD,  laughing out loud at pithy one-liners , raising my eyebrows at “didn’t know that” insights, and tearing out article after article offering testimony to man’s HUMANITY to man … I am struck by the profound influence Reader’s Digest has had on my writing, speaking and approach to life.

For example, this My Most Unforgettable Character article entitled The Night I Met Einstein, (which RD notes is one of the most requested essays of the thousands in their archives), moved me with its timeless wisdom.

http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/the-night-i-met-einstein/

Take a few minutes to read it and you’ll easily understand why.  This was written more than 60 years ago (!) and is as powerful today as it was when Jerome Weidman first wrote it.

It is an illustration of why I loved reading Reader’s Digest growing up – and was profoundly shaped by its recurring themes of decency, honor, resourcefulness, bravery, adventure and gratitude.

I remember to this day reading a story about a mother standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes while watching her two kids outside flying kites on a windy spring day.

One of them saw her watching and called out to ask her to join them.

She waved them off and said she couldn’t because she had too many chores.

She reminisced that now that her kids were out of the house and on their own, she often thought about that windy spring day and wished she had said YES when they asked her to come out and play.

She realized, too late, her chores could have waited;  their precious, all too fleeting, childhood wouldn’t.

That article came to mind many times when my sons Tom and Andrew were growing up.  They would come up while I was writing and ask, “Let’s play ping pong” or “Let’s go to the beach.”

I would think of the presentations I had to prepare, the handouts I needed to create, or the calls I needed to be make … and then I would think of that article.

Remembering that mom’s remorse about not playing with her kids while she still could – and while they still wanted her presence – prompted me to say YES  instead of telling them I had work to do and was too busy.

Do yourself a favor.

Buy a copy of Reader’s Digest and read it cover-to-cover while sitting somewhere in the sunshine – in your favorite chair by the window, at a local park surrounded by nature or out on your back patio.

It will make you smile  … i.e., an article in the May issue from children’s book author and Simpsons writer Mike Reiss who says a publishing house called him in a panic because a superstar celebrity client had turned in an unusable, overdue manuscript.  They wanted Mike to re-write the book and have it ready – the next day.

Mike said huffily, “A children’s book is not a fast-food hamburger, and I am not McDonald’s.’

They told me, ‘We’ll pay you $10,000.’

I said, ‘You want fries with that?”

Reader’s Digest will get your eyebrows up with recent research.

This month’s issue features tidbits on Decision Fatigue, and the fact that,  just as we always suspected, Yawns Are Contagious,  which is why we often release one of our own when someone nearby opens wide.

It may even warm your heart and motivate you to be kinder to people you encounter.

It may remind you, as does the article about Einstein opening the eyes, ears, heart and mind of a musical neophyte, of what really matters – listening, learning, loving and marveling at this wondrous world of ours.

Mostly what Reader’s Digest will do is showcase that its editors understand that Carrie Fisher is right when she says, “Instant gratification takes too long.”

They are masters at condensing their content into intriguing  20 word, 50 word, 150 word insights that POP!

Their headlines,  “Cash Mob,” “Inspiring Minds Want to Know,” “We Couldn’t Make This Up,” and “50 Secrets Your Vet Won’t Tell You” create curiosity and compel you to keep reading because you want to know more.

Their visually accessible copy with short paragraphs and frequent boxed off graphics show they know people like to dip in and derive value even if they only have a few minutes to spare.  No dense, daunting text here.

In short, all of us communicators – speakers, writers, advertisers, journalists, ministers, professors and sales and marketing professionals – can learn from their example.

If you want to create intriguing headlines, insights and essays that pass Sam Horn’s Eyebrow Test®,  you can.

Purchase a copy of POP! and discover for yourself why it’s been sold around the world, featured on MSNBC, FastCompany and Business Week and hailed as the best source for crafting content that captures and keeps interest in what you have to say.

http://www.amazon.com/POP-Create-Perfect-Tagline-Anything/dp/0399533613/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335718015&sr=8-1

Do you have any favorite Readers Digest memories?  Let’s hear them . . .

“Winning begins with preparation.” – Football coach Joe Gibbs

A client, who was an executive for a Six Sigma organization, was preparing for an important medical conference. If he did right by his audience, he and his organization stood to win millions in contracts.

The problem?

Have you ever been to a medical conference? Most everyone there is brilliant.

Unfortunately, that brilliance doesn’t always translate to the platform.

The programs are often highly technical and everyone’s power-point slides are packed with facts, numbers, complex case studies and graphs. Lots of graphs.

Furthermore, my client was speaking on the last day. At that point, participants’ eyes were going to be glazed over.

I kept asking him questions about his personal interests to see how he could pleasantly surprise his audience, in the first minute, with something they didn’t expect.

Something startlingly relevant that would get their eyebrows up.

Something that would quickly convince them he was worth their valuable time and mind.

I asked if he had any hobbies.

“Sam, I’m on the road 5 days a week. I don’t have time for hobbies.”

“Hmmm. Do you and your wife ever do anything for fun?”

“Well, sometimes we watch TV.”

“Aha. Any favorite shows?”

“Well, we like to watch Law & Order.”

Bingo.

I now knew how he could title and format his presentation so it captured and kept interest – from start to finish.

Guess what that title was?

FLAW & ORDER

And yes, he featured the signature image on his power point slides and the iconic “Dda-dum” tone to reveal his important points.

The point?

He had his audience at hello.

They thought, “Wow, we haven’t seen this before. Tell us more.”

Best yet, he kept this intriguing theme throughout his presentation. At the end, he was surrounded by participants giving him their business cards and requesting more information on how they could work together.

He had proven to these decision-makers they could trust him to prepare in advance and deliver intriguing, relevant insights and recommended actions that were relevant to their needs.

How about you?

Are you preparing for an important presentation?

If so, you can start by asking yourself the following questions.

That will kick-start your preparation process.

Then, if you want to POP! your presentation and stand out from the crowd; contact us at Sam@SamHorn.com to schedule a complementary 15 minute appointment.

We’ll discuss your upcoming communication, including your goals and the audience’s needs.  We’ll explore how we can work together to tailor a presentation that positions you to walk in with confidence because you’ve done everything possible to prepare yourself for a win-win experience.

Sam Horn’s W5 Form for a Presentation That Passes The Eyebrow Test

Want to get your audience’s eyebrows up?

Clarify your W’s so you can customize your communication in advance and make it relevant and intriguing for that particular audience and situation.

Filling out this form can help you walk in with confidence because it will be clear you’ve done your homework and you know what you’re talking about.

That will help engage and impress people in the first 60 seconds. They’ll be motivated to give you their valuable time and mind and they’ll be inspired to care about what you care about.

Who?

Who are you communicating to? Who’s the person you’re trying to connect with, convince or persuade? Describe that person so vividly we can SEE them in our mind’s eye.

Give enough detail so we get a sense of what they look like, what they’re feeling, where they’re coming from, why they might be resistant, and how they feel about us. Man? Woman? Age? Mom of 3? CEO? Tired? Impatient? Angry? Perfectionist? Skeptical?

­­­­­­­­­____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

What?

What do you want this person to think or say at the end of your communication? What’s your objective? What would make this communication a success? What do you want this person to start, stop or do differently? Make this measurable (“I want them to schedule a follow up meeting by this Friday.”) rather than vague or sweeping (“I want them to like me.”)

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

Where?

Where will this communication take place? Will you be speaking in a boardroom, ballroom or your boss’s office? Will you be meeting someone at a bark park or ball park?

Will they be reading your copy online? Will you be talking on the phone, plane, elevator? Is this at a trade fair, networking function or business luncheon? At a 5 star hotel? U.S.? China?

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

When?

Will this be at 4:30 pm on a Friday and everyone’s impatient to get out the door? 1:30 pm after a big lunch and everyone’s sleepy? 8 pm and people are tired after a long day? April 15th when people are focused on taxes? January 1st and people are thinking about New Year resolutions?

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

Why?

Go a sentence deeper. You’ve already identified your goals and what you hope to achieve … but WHY? You hope this company hires you SO you get to work for a business you believe in where you’re getting paid to do work you love? You want this company to donate $10,000 to your non-profit BECAUSE then you can give scholarships to 10 students? You want a more compelling elevator speech SO you feel more confident meeting new people at conferences?

____________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________

Good for you for taking the time to fill that out. Your clarity about the W’s will help you customize your communication so you’re better able to quickly capture the favorable attention of your group.

Now, either get a copy of my book POP! so you can make your insights and examples more compelling or contact us at Sam@SamHorn.com so we can help you tailor this presentation so you capture everyone’s interest in the crucial first 60 seconds.

Do you ever:

• Find people aren’t really listening when you’re talking to them?
• Have a tough time explaining your ideas?
• Notice that what you’re saying seems to be going in one ear, out the other?
• Get frustrated because you can’t get across the value or urgency of
what you care about in a way other people get it and want it?

If so, join the club.

We’re taught math, science and history in school – but we’re not taught how to capture people’s attention and quickly communicate what we care about so other people care about it.

As a result, our priorities and projects may not succeed at the level at which they deserve because we’re not able to win buy-in from key decision-makers.

Want good news?

There’s a solution to this. It’s called The Eyebrow Test®.

It’s both a method for:

1. BEING more intriguing in the first crucial 60 seconds when people are making up their mind whether we’re worth the valuable time.

2. TESTING how intriguing we are so we know whether we’re capturing people’s attention.

Here’s how I discovered The Eyebrow Test®.

Several years ago, I was asked to be on the closing panel of an international conference held over New Years.

Pulitzer Prize winners, astronauts, CEO’s and Nobel physicists were on the panel, so I was excited about this opportunity.

The challenge? I had two minutes max to share my insight with the group.

I skipped the New Years’ celebration the night before the panel to prepare.

My son Andrew (founder of Ability List – http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/yeas-nays/2012/01/andrew-horn-launch-abilitylistcom/2105891) came back to our hotel room after midnight only to find me still up, working on my remarks.

“Whazzup, Mom?”

“Well, I’ve got something to say, but I know it’s not special.”

“Do what you always tell me to do when my brain’s fried. Get up early in the morning and tackle it when you’re fresh.”

“Good advice, Andrew. Thanks.” I set the alarm for 6 am and went to study the inside of my eyelids.

The next morning, I headed downstairs to search for some caffeine to kick-start my creativity.

I turned around after getting my coffee and bumped into a petite powerhouse who was wearing big red, round glasses. I smiled at her and said, “Happy New Year.”

She looked at me, eyes bright, and said, “Start to finish.”

My eyebrows went up at this unexpected response. I was instantly intrigued. “How did you come up with that great phrase?”

She said, “Want to sit for a spell and I’ll tell you?”

I had a decision to make. Was I supposed to go back to my room and work on my two minutes – or was Dr. Betty Siegel (President Emeritus of Georgia’s Kennesaw State University) my two minutes?

Suffice it to say, I went with Betty (literally and figuratively).

Betty turned out to be the most intriguing communicator I’ve ever met.

I was on the edge of my seat through our entire conversation. There wasn’t a second I wished I was somewhere else. There wasn’t a moment I was bored, distracted or confused. She was 100% intriguing – from start to finish.

That’s when it occurred to me. Betty had my eyebrows up the entire time she was speaking.

What was it about it about her?

What made her so intriguing?

I had a triple epiphany.

1. Being intriguing is a rare and welcomed attribute.

2. Being intriguing is a learnable skill and can be (and must be) taught.

3. There is a tangible way to test how intriguing we are.

Just watch people’s eyebrows.

If we tell them something and their eyebrows knit or furrow; they didn’t get what we said.

And if they don’t get it, they won’t want it.

And if they don’t get it or want it, we won’t get what we want – their attention, respect, friendship, money or business.

If their eyebrows don’t move at all; it means they’re unmoved. What we said didn’t reach them. It had no impact at all, which means they’re not motivated to give us their valuable time, mind (or dime).

If their eyebrows go UP; it means we got through. They’re engaged, curious. They want to know more … which means what we just said got in their mental door.

Try it right now. LIFT your eyebrows.

Is your attention activated? Do you feel intrigued? Did raising your eyebrows switch you from an apathetic “I don’t care” state to a more engaged “Tell me more” state?

That’s one of the many benefits of the Eyebrow Test®. It’s a tangible way to gauge how intriguing you are anytime you want, for free, in five seconds.

Just:
• Tell someone your elevator speech
• Read them the first paragraph of your book, blog or article
• Watch someone review the homepage of your website
• Share the 60 second opening of your presentation, pitch or panel remarks
• Explain how you’re going to start a staff orientation or committee meeting
• Give an answer to a key question you’ll be asked in an upcoming interview
• Show a potential client your commercial or the first minute of your video

… and watch their eyebrows.

If their eyebrows go up; you’re in business.

If their eyebrows crunch up. It’s back to the drawing board. (Or, as comedian George Carlin said, “What did we go back to before there were drawing boards?”)

The good news is; if you test an upcoming communication and people’s eyebrows don’t go up; I can teach you how to craft a more intriguing opening so they do go up.

There’s a step-by-step process for having people at hello and I’ve developed it.

More importantly, this process – The Eyebrow Test® – is replicable. It’s helped thousands of people create intrigjuing communications that helped them buy-in to their priority projects – whether that was landing millions in funding, securing sponsorship for a non-profit or landing a dream job.

I may be preaching to the choir, but in case you’re still wondering why it’s in your best interests to learn how to be more intriguing … here’s why.

People today are suffering from info-besity.

They’re BBB. Busy. Bored. Been there-heard that.

They don’t want more blah-blah-blah.

They want epiphanies. They want to feel connected.

And they don’t get epiphanies and don’t feel connected from the old-fashioned “Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em; tell ‘em; then tell ‘em what you told ‘em” approach.

As Carrie Fisher said, “instant gratification takes too long.”

By the time we do all that “telling,” people’s eyes are glazed over.

If we want people’s attention; we need to pleasantly surprise them in the first 60 seconds with something intriguing and relevant they didn’t expect.

If we do that, they’ll listen up. They will feel connected and curious.

If we don’t; they won’t be listening; they’ll be waiting for us to stop talking. Or, they’ll be surreptitiously checking their smartphone. Or, they’ll have already mentally moved on.

What do you care about?

What is an upcoming communication and you (and your employees or association members) would like to know how to craft a 60 second opening that gets everyone’s eyebrows up?

If you want to know exactly what to say to win buy-in in that situation …contact us at Sam@SamHorn.com to arrange your one-on-one consultation or to schedule Intrigue Expert Sam Horn to teach your group her “can-use-this-today” Eyebrow Test® approaches that have been won raves from entrepreneurs in London, Geneva, Toronto, Amsterdam, Chicago and NYC and from executives from Cisco, Intel and eBay.

We look forward to hearing from you and to helping you win-buy to your priority projects.

“If you stick to what you know; you sell yourself short.” – Carrie Underwood

Do you have an idea you’re pitching? A venture or cause you’re trying to get funded?

What are you going to say in the first 60 seconds to get your busy decision-makers’eyebrows up?

If you stick to what they already know; you’ll sell your idea, venture or cause short because your listeners will have tuned out and moved on.

People are so busy these days, if we don’t pleasantly surprise them in the first minute with something they don’t know – but would like to know – it’s NEXT!

Adrian Ott, an expert blogger for FastCompany.com, interviewed Sam about her innovative approaches to motivating people to give you their valuable time, mind and dime.

What’s something you care about?

If you want other people to care about it, use these techniques on “How To Gain Buy-In To Your Idea in 60 Seconds” to capture your decision-makers’ undivided attention so your idea, venture or cause gets the respect – and buy-in – it deserves.

Here’s that interview – http://www.samhorn.com/media/articles/sam_horn_adrian_ott_interview_gain_buy-in_for_your_idea_in_60_seconds_or_less.htm

Many clients have asked me to post my Top Ten Tips for Delivering a Winning Pitch article online so they can share it with their colleagues and take it viral.

Ask and ye shall receive.

Top Ten Tips for Delivering a Winning Pitch – by Sam Horn, The Intrigue Expert and inventor of The POP Process

You’ve invested months or years into developing your business.

Now, you have minutes to intrigue and impress potential investors.

The following tips can help you command the attention, respect and interest of decision-makers so they’re motivated to request a follow-up meeting.

1. Speak Loud and Clear So People in the Back Row Can Repeat Every Word:

Whether it’s fair or not, decision-makers determine your “clout” – your perceived ability to get things done on a grand scale – by the volume of your voice. People who speak softly aren’t perceived as powerful.

You don’t want to force people to have to say, “I can’t hear you.” That means they’re already frustrated with you. Project and e-nun-ci-ate so everyone in the room can repeat what you just said. Why is that important? If they can’t repeat it; they didn’t get it. And if they didn’t get it; you won’t get it.

2. Use Your Voice Like a Musical Instrument:

Use a warm, lower register voice to resonate with listeners. No iced drinks beforehand. They freeze your vocal chords & make you sound nasal. A high-pitched, “little girl” voice causes investors to doubt your ability to carry off a multi-million dollar venture. Ending with upward inflection makes you seem unsure – as if you’re asking for approval. Follow the example of broadcasters and end sentences with downward inflection so you’re exuding a voice of authority and will be considered an authority.

3. Speak to People’s Eyes to Engage Everyone in the Room.

The audience is not your enemy. Your goal is to connect with every single person in the room. Instead of having an unfocused gaze where you’re not really looking at anyone; mentally extend yourself to each individual by momentarily looking into their eyes so they feel you’re talking just to them.

You can do this even if there are hundreds of people in a ballroom by “quartering” the room and being sure to make eye contact with people in each corner of the room instead of sweeping the room with a robotic-like UZI approach or looking over everyone’s head with an empty gaze.

4. Pause and Punch:

Nervous speakers rush. Confident speakers deliberately pause before . . . and after . . . their most important points. Punching your most impressive points gives them an audio emphasis that helps them POP! out of everything that’s being said. Putting space around a particularly impressive credential or achievement (i.e., “sold to Microsoft,” “managed a 30 million dollar department,” “MBA from Harvard”) highlights it and gives listeners a chance to absorb and imprint it so they can remember it.

Jonathan Winters said, “I have a photographic memory; I just haven’t developed it yet.” People don’t have a photographic memory so it’s up to you to develop an easy-to-grasp pitch they like, want to listen to and can remember.

5. Eliminate Adversarial Words or Industry Jargon:

Review your slides and comments and remove the words “but,” “should,” “you’ll have to.” These words can make people feel ordered around, argued with or lectured to. Also, be sure to explain acronyms, industry jargon or technical terminology listeners may not be familiar with.

6. Tower, don’t Cower:

Your body posture says a lot about your confidence. Stand up right now and let your shoulders fall forward; put your feet close together and assume the “fig leaf” position. This “cower” stance makes you look and feel tentative and weak.

Now, pull your shoulders back, place your feet shoulder width apart and stand tall. This “tower” stance makes you feel and look more grounded and authoritative. People will conclude you know what you’re talking about and are a lot more likely to give you their respect because you look like a leader.

7. Command Attention and Respect From the Beginning:

Stride (don’t walk meekly . . . . stride confidently) to the center of the room and face the group so you are “open” to them. Pause for a moment and scan the entire room with a warm smile. Some self-conscious speakers start talking before they are “centered” and they never own the room. Some lock themselves behind the lectern to have a “barrier” between them and the group. Make a powerful, positive first impression by facing the group “head on” and by not starting until you have everyone’s attention.

If there are people behind you on a panel, stand to one side of the table so you don’t have your back to the panelists throughout the presentation. Keep your body facing the audience so you’re addressing and honoring the majority of the people in the room – and turn your head (not your whole body) to the panel occasionally to keep them enaged.

I’ll always remember a speaker who spent his entire 10 minutes talking directly to the panel (not even glancing at the rest of the room) because he thought the panelists were the judges. The judges were actually in the back of the room and they disconnected after 10 minutes of being ignored.

8. Move Strategically to Punctuate Your Points:

You don’t want to be rooted to one spot and you don’t want to pace. Repeated, non-purposeful motion is distracting. Determine in advance how you can move from “stage center” to “stage right” to get closer to that part of the audience and then to “stage left” to focus on that section of the audience.

Instead of gripping the lectern with both hands (which comes across as rigid or a desperate need to “hold onto something”) or clasping your hands together behind you or in front of you which lock you in to one stance – hold your hands like you’re holding a basketball so you can gesture freely and naturally.

9. Speak from Talking Points vs. Memorizing Your Speech:

Memorizing a speech or reading from a script disconnects you from the audience because you’re “in your head” repeating words you’re rehearsed. The audience might as well not even be there. The goal is to connect and communicate so compellingly, everyone is listening to and “getting” everything you say.

Instead of keeping notes in your hands, place them on the lectern so you can glance at them (or the tele-prompter or on-stage monitor) to remind yourself of key points without breaking your connection with the audience. Don’t talk to your slides – talk to your audience. Turn your back on the screen and keep your attention on the group so they’re keeping their attention on you.

10. Show and Tell with Props:

At the end of a long day, pitches start blending together and sounding alike. Visually reinforce your product by bringing a sample to the stage. Holding up an iPad or an iPhone while you talk about an app you’ve created helps us SEE what you’re SAYING. It makes your concept concrete and turns your idea into an image.

One client who created a software program that organized receipts/expenses brought her wallet to the stage and pulled out a dozen receipts from taxis, restaurants, hotels she’d collected in her trip to the NYC pitch forum. She then asked audience members if they had receipts scattered throughout their luggage they were probably going to lose, never report or never collect on. Everyone related to her message, remembered what she was offering, respected its market potential and wanted to talk with her afterwards. Compare that to a talk where she spoke solely about a “receipt aggregation system.”
– – – – – – – – – – –
Sam Horn, The Intrigue Expert, helps clients create clearn, compelling communications that win buy-in from target customers. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed POP! Create the Perfect Pitch, Title and Tagline for Anything which has been endorsed by Jeffrey Gitomer and featured in NY Times, Washington Post, MSNBC and BusinessWeek.com.

Did you find these tipson delivering a winning pitch useful? You’re welcome to forward them to others and share the wealth as long as you attribute them.

Want Sam Horn’s article on Top Ten Tips to Designing a Winning Pitch ?

(And yes, her article covers what to put on your power point slides).

Email us at Cheri@SamHorn.com and we’ll send it to you. And visit http://www.SamHorn.com for video clips on how to capture people’s favorable attention in the first 60 seconds by getting their eyebrows up.