I hate you

“My eldest daughter told me she hated me when she was in the second grade.”

Bet that got your attention!

Which is the point.

Most articles, blogs and books start off with blah-blah preliminaries to “set the scene.”

Forget that.

Don’t set the scene. Jump into the scene.

That article could have started out predictably with, “This is a review of Sheryl’s Sandberg new book about women in the workplace.”

Yawn. Are you motivated to drop what you’re doing and keep reading?

I didn’t think so.

But instead, that first sentence popped off the page and motivated me to read the rest of this excellent article by Katharine Weymouth of the Washington Post entitled, How Can You LEAN IN If You Don’t Have Anyone to LEAN ON?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/katharine-weymouth-how-do-you-lean-in-when-you-dont-have-someone-to-lean-on/2013/03/22/b117d730-8b24-11e2-b63f-f53fb9f2fcb4_story.html

What are you writing right now? A blog? Article? Report? Book chapter? Web copy? Marketing brochure?

Review your first sentence and paragraph.

Does it set the scene – or jump into the scene?

If you want to have readers at hello, pleasantly surprise them by JUMPING into a dialogue phrase pulled from the story that illustrates your point.

Readers will be intrigued, and they’ll want to know … the rest of your story.

Advertisements

“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.

“In influencing others; example is not the main thing.  It’s the only thing.” – Albert Schweitzer

Agreed.

What’s a situation coming up in which you want to influence someone to give you their time, mind or dime?

If you want to capture and keep their attention – if you want to open their mind and change their mind  – don’t open with information.

Open with an example.

In fact, follow Dr. Brene’ Brown’s shining example …

I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Brene’ Brown at a recent Leadership Colloquium at NASA Goddard.

Brene’s TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability is one of the top ten most-downloaded TED videos.

After the first 10 minutes of her NASA presentation, it’s easy to understand why.

She’s disarmingly honest about her journey from being a left-brained researcher who only valued bottom-line facts to discovering the transcendent, whole-hearted, free-flowing love that comes from having children.

What she didn’t anticipate was the fear that comes from being a mom.

She described how she used to stand in her kids’ rooms at night and watch them sleep … and weep.

Why?

She cherished them so much, she was afraid something would happen to them.

She knew this was illogical. They were perfectly healthy, perfectly fine.  Yet there she was … miserable.

She started researching why the emotion of happiness seems to be irrevocably tied with fear – and used an EXAMPLE to open our eyes to how common this phenomenon is.

A family is driving to their grandparents’s house for Christmas.  The parents are uptight because they’re running late.

The kids, sitting in the back seat, start singing Jingle Bells .

The parents realize how ridiculous they’re being and start singing Jingle Bells along with them.

At this point, Brene’ asked the audience, “And then what happened?”

Guess what the majority said??

“They get in a car accident.”

Is that what you thought?

Do you know what that means?

It means, deep down, you believe happiness is fleeting – you believe it is too good to be true.

How about you?  In the midst of things going well, are you, at some level, waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Arrgghh.

Say it ain’t so.

Brene’ went on to explain that, in an effort to protect ourselves against the pain we feel when something goes wrong  … we prepare ourselves by projecting it so we won’t be blindsided when the heartache happens.

Not only does that cut short any joy we might be feeling, that “failure forecasting” increases the likelihood of something going wrong because that’s what we’re focused on.  Then, if something does go wrong, it reinforces our worst fears and proves us “right.” This sets up an emotionally unhealthy spiral where we have even more cause to worry.

Brene’ continued with constructive ways to change this destructive default … if we choose.

Okay, what’s the point?

Look back over this post.

Were you engaged?  Were you thinking about that insight that some people are afraid of happiness – and thinking how it relates to you?

That’s because Brene’s EXAMPLE pulled you in and helped you SEE this situation.

If Brene (or I) had just talked about how some of us are waiting for the other shoe to drop – even when things are going well – that would have been wah-wah rhetoric.  You may not have related to it because it was information.

People today are suffering from InfoBesity.  They don’t want more information.

They can get all the information they want – anytime they want – online for the click of a button.

People want to be intrigued.

And one of the best ways to intrigue people is with EXAMPLES – not information.

Back to your upcoming situation where you’ll be trying to persuade someone to give you their valuable time, attention, respect, business, account or funding.

Don’t start with information.  Start with a real-life example that helps them SEE what you’re saying so they’re experiencing it – not just hearing it.

Be sure to check out Dr. Brene Brown’s website and blog.  Her insights on how we can be wholehearted – instead of going through life half-hearted because we’re protecting ourselves from pain – are brilliant.  http://www.brenebrown.com/

“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.

“When someone’s impatient and says, ‘I haven’t got all day,’ I always wonder, ‘How can that be? How can you not have all day?'” – comedian George Carlin

George had it right the first time.

We DON’T have all day to convince people we’re worth listening to.

Busy decision-makers make up their minds in minutes whether we’re a good investment of their time and mind.

That’s why it’s up to you to distill your pitch down to 10 slides.

Yes, I said 10 slides.

If you roll out a 30, 40, or 50+ power point slide deck (don’t laugh, I’ve seen them and, unfortunately, sat through some) … investors are already rolling their eyes and getting out their smart phones.

You do not want to add to the epidemic of INFO-BESITY

I’ve had the privilege of working with hundreds of entrepreneurs on their pitches .. and we always distill their pitch into a crisp, convincing 10 slide, 10 minute format that thrills potential investors because it concisely and compellingly addresses what they need to know to make a decision.

Here are just a few of the criteria I use when designing a to-the-point pitch that will win buy-in to my client’s idea, venture, product launch or start-up. Hope you find them useful.

1. Anticipate and Address Objections:

Investors can be “Doubting Thomas’s.” Ask yourself, “Why would they say no?” and then say it early on. If you don’t address their objections in the beginning, they won’t be listening; they’ll be waiting for you to stop talking so they can tell you why your idea won’t work. Neutralize resistance by naming it . . . first.

2. Title Each Slide with the Main Point and Turn Some Titles into Questions

Don’t force investors to try to figure out the most important take-away. They can’t give you their undivided attention if they’re distracted or confused by an unclear slide. Ask yourself, “What’s the primary point of this slide – what do I want them to remember?” and then feature it on top so everyone gets the point.

Posing questions with your title and then answering it with your content turns your pitch into a two-way dialogue instead of a one-way monologue. Voicing what the group is thinking and articulating what’s on their mind – and then responding to that turns your pitch into an conversation vs. a lecture.

3. State the Problem(s) Your Business Solves:

Exactly how does your business solve an existing problem of your target audience in a unique or more efficient, profitable way? Reference a respected publication (WSJ? IBD?) that reveals a dramatic statistic, a recent study result, or a survey that attests to the size/scope of the problem or need you’re addressing. Specify how your solution is better than the competition or is addressing this problem in a revolutionary, first-of-its-kind way. What metrics can you provide that prove the urgency of this issue or the rapid growth of this demographic?

4. Show Them the Money:

Want investors to give you millions? Show exactly how and where you’ve managed and made millions before. Where exactly have you produced impressive monetary results commensurate with what you’re asking? Prove you’re not a risk with a tangible bottom-line track record of successful launches, exits, sales, profits, savings, payoffs. Don’t wait until the last slide to introduce this; put it up front as the primary question in an investor’s mind is, “Have you generated/managed big money before? Can you be trusted to do it again and make money for us? How?”

5. No TMI. 10 slides TOPS.

People shut down when there’s too many slides and a speaker races to “get them all in.” When people are overwhelmed; they become immobilized. They will not say yes or want to know more if they’re flooded with a fire-hose of facts. Discipline yourself to make 10 clean points. vs. 20 confusing ones.

6. Remember, slides are visual “aids.” Keep ’em clean and visually appealing.

In a 10 minute pitch, fancy animation or complex graphics can be over-kill. YOU are the show – not your slides. Please, no lengthy documents in tiny print. Distill crucial info into 3-4 bullets max. Make copy easy to “eyeball” with a minimum of 24 point font. Instead of bells and whistles; use a consistent theme with dark text on a light background to produce an easy-to-read, professional-looking presentation.

Elmore Leonard said, “I try to leave out the parts people skip.” Have a max of 25 words per slide. Distill each point into its essence – you can always elaborate when you’re speaking. Numbering points instead of bulleting them can make them easier to follow and more factual.

7. Make Your Slides Right and Left Brain:

Include some human faces along with your graphics and grids to SHOW what you do, not just talk about it. Balance statistics with a real-life success story to “people” your pitch so it’s not neck-up, wah-wah rhetoric. Remember, investors make decisions on emotion and logic. Have a blend of photos of real-live people and back up your claims with empirical data so decision-makers like you and respect you.

8. Put Names and Numbers in Your Claims:

Instead of making vague generalizations (e.g., “team has extensive experience in bio-med” What’s that mean?), say, “For example . . . “ and then provide the names and logos of companies you’ve worked with; the millions of dollars you’ve generated; the number of months it took for a product launch; the hundreds of people you’ve managed. Metrics are trusted. Sweeping claims without specific, real-world evidence are suspect.

9. Give Three Action Options in Closing Slide:

Do you know how most people end their pitch? “Thank you for listening.” Arggh. Talk about leaving money on the table. Don’t close passively by trailing off and expecting the audience to read your mind. Close proactively by asking yourself, “What do I want them to do? Call next week to set up a more in-depth, in-person meeting? Connect with you at your exhibit table at the 2:45 pm afternoon break? Request a free sample or product demonstration? SAY THAT. Be explicit by offering three incentive options that would motivate them to follow-up.

Please note: preparing a pitch is a front-loaded project.

Yes, it takes time (and maybe some consulting money) to “do it right” … however it will pay off.

How much money are you asking for? Half a million? $2 million?

If you want to turn your dream into a funded, successful reality; take the time and invest the money to design a 10 slide pitch that has your decision-makers at hello.

Want 10 ways to DELIVER a pitch that captures and keeps your audience’s favorable attention from start to finish? Email us at Cheri@SamHorn.com and put PITCH DELIVERY TIPS in the subject heading.

It happened again.

I went to a conference last week and met dozens of smart, talented entrepreneurs.

Yet when I asked them “What do you do?” or “Tell me about your business,” many couldn’t quickly communicate what they did in a way I got it and wanted it.

Talk about lost opportunity costs.

if you care about your company, cause, creative idea or campaign; the ball’s in YOUR court to craft an intriguing elevator intro so the next time someone asks “What do you do?” you can respond in a way that sets up a meaningful and memorable conversation and connection.

For example, I met one woman in the halls and asked what she did.

Her response? “I’m a project manager.”

Argghh.

I asked, “Want to play with that?”

She said, “Sure.”

I asked, “What’s an EXAMPLE of a project you managed?”

(Using the two words FOR EXAMPLE is the quickest way to make your intro come alive bcause you’re showing vs. telling what you do. These two words turn an elevator speech into an elevator connection because people can SEE what you’re saying and relate to it.)

She said, “Well, I managed a drug launch.”

“For who? What’s their name? Or, if you need to keep your clients confidential, what size company is it?”

(Vague claims compromise credibility. You need to give enough specific detail so people trust what you’re saying is true.)

She said, “It was a billion dollar pharma company.”

(See how this intro immediately got more interesting and positioned her at a level of respect?)

I asked, “What was the timeline of what you accomplished for them? What were the measurable results?”

(When you provide details of the tangible value you’ve delivered for someone else, it sets up a When Harry Met Sally – “I’ll have what she’s having” – desire to have the same results.)

She said, “I brought the project in before deadline and under budget.”

(Who wouldn’t want that?)

“Then what happened?”

“The CEO called to thank me and said they couldn’t have done it without me.”

(Quoting a real-life endorsement POP!s our elevator intro because it provides irrefutable social proof that we have produced bottom-line value for other clients.)

I said, “From now on, SAY THAT.”

When someone asks, ‘What do you do?’ say, “I’m a project manager. For example, a couple years ago, a billion dollar pharma company asked me to oversee a drug launch. We brought it in under budget and before deadline. The CEO was so pleased, he picked up the phone to thank me and said they couldn’t have done it without me.”

Voila. Now we know exactly what she does. We’re impressed with what she does. And we can remember what she does so we could refer her to other people or seek her out if we’re in the market for a project manager.

How about YOUR elevator intro?

Can you clearly and compellingly get across what you do – in 60 seconds or less?

Can you win buy-in to your business, idea or organization in the first minute?

If so, good for you.

If not, you might want to listen to the interview I did with Karen Klein of BusinessWeek.com on this topic. You can listen to the 8 minute audio on the homepage of my website – http://www.samhorn.com/

Or, you’re welcome to email us at Sam@SamHorn.com to order my CD or e-book on “Create a Tell ‘n Sell Elevator Intro that Opens Doors and Closes Deal.”

Sam Horn's Create a Intriguing Elevator Intro that Opens Doors and Closes Deals.

Sam Horn's CD Create a Intriguing Elevator Intro that Opens Doors and Closes Deals.

or

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.