Need to deliver an effective “pitch” presentation? Let Guy Kawasaki’s Art of the Start 2.0 be your guide. This is a summation of Chapter 6: The Art of Pitching.
Set expectations beforehand with the audience:
1) Ask the audience how much of their time can they give you. As Kawasaki says, “This question shows that you respect the value of the audience’s time by not running over your limit. It also makes the audience commit to a minimum allotment of time.”
2) Then ask, “What are the three most important pieces of information that I can provide?” This allows you to focus on information that is important to the audience by skipping the irrelevant and focusing more time on what the audience finds relevant.
3) Finally ask if the audience will be patient enough to ask questions at the end. Get the audience to allow you to present without breaking your rhythm.
Cut to the chase by minute number six. In minute number 6 use a three to five word description to explain what you do. This could be something like, “We sell software” or “We teach underprivileged kids.”
Obey the 10/20/30 rule!
What is this?
10 slides for 20 minutes with a bare minimum of 30 point text!
How to do this with your slides? For a start-up company/project trying to get investments/support see the sample schema below.
Slide number 1 is all about the organization’s name and its contact information.
Slide number 2 identifies the problem that your company/project will address.
Slide number 3 focuses on how your company/project addresses the problem with a solution.
Slide number 4 discusses the technical details as to how you provide your solution. If you have something tangible such as a working demo or prototype, showcase it! Glen Shires of Google noted, “If a picture is worth a thousand words, a prototype is worth ten thousand slides.” When in doubt, focus on building your prototype and then when that is complete hit the presentation circuit. A good presentation that involves a prototype never gets to the end of the slide show, because everyone in the audience wants to learn more about the prototype.
Slide number 5 touches on the business model (i.e. how you make money).
Slide number 6 is the marketing strategy (i.e. how you plan to let people know about your company/project).
Slide number 7 is the competitive analysis. The wrong answer is that there is no competition! Be as thorough as possible with this slide.
Slide number 8 is the management team slide. You need to show that the team’s “education and work experience are relevant to the market you are going after.”
Slide 9 concerns the financial projections and metrics. Here you need to estimate what will happen in the next 3 to 5 years with the number of customers, sales, etc,
Slide 10 wraps up with “the current status of your product, what the near future looks like, and how you’ll use the money you’re trying to raise.”
Just let one person, the CEO, talk. One or two other team members with specialty knowledge can briefly talk to the audience on a topic related to their expertise, but the CEO should be covering the vast majority of the presentation.
To sum it up, “Simply provide enough detail to prove you can deliver and enough aerial view to prove you have a plan.”
Treat everyone in the audience as someone who has the power make your idea/product take off. “Work with anyone who is a key influencer, from secretaries, administrative aides, and personal assistants to product managers, support managers, and database administrators.”
Other tips? Don’t read your slides, “animate your body, not your slides“, use bullets, use diagrams and graphs, and “make printable slides.”
Also, as a general rule if you are invited to speak about a subject that you are not familiar with, just decline the invitation. Don’t publicize your ignorance and don’t waste people’s time.
Also, consider this passage Kawasaki lists on page 245, “The higher you go in many big companies, the thinner the oxygen; and the thinner the oxygen, the more difficult it is to support intelligent life. Thus, the middles and bottoms of organizations contain most of the intelligence, and intelligence is necessary to appreciate innovative products. The concept that people without lofty titles can affect sales means that you should ignore titles and work with anyone who is a key influencer, from secretaries, administrative aides, and personal assistants to product managers, support managers, and database administrators.”