How to Pitch ideas and avoid "death by PowerPoint 🥱" ?
When was the last time you tried to convince someone? Your boss, your partner? How did it work out?
When you think about it, both our private and professional lives are made of hours spent every day to present things and trying to convince people on various topics. Sometimes it works well, and we succeed. For example, a project validated by your boss, a prospect won after a great pitch, or your favorite summer holiday location validated by your partner… At that specific moment, you were clear, engaging and the people in front of you knew it. You believed it and they put their trust in your presentation.
However, sometimes it doesn’t work at all. Think about your last bad presentation … Maybe you didn’t know exactly how you’ll start, maybe your hands were clammy before presenting, people started to check their phones and/or emails after only 2 slides.
It’s not necessarily because they were being rude. It may just have been because on that specific day you were not able to grab their attention and struggled to get them to listen to your story or how you were going to help them achieve something.
Personally, I don’t like when the rules of a presentation start with “no phone, no email”. You don’t want people to look at their phones? Earn it!
We spend a lot of time in meetings. And we almost certainly spend too much time in pointless meetings; a meeting should add a value. When I commit to spending time listening to someone, I expect some kind of outcome - either a decision or some new learnings.
We have a name for these seemingly endless presentations with hundreds of dense slides.
Death By PowerPoint.
*However, wasn’t PowerPoint created to bring clarity ("make a powerful point") ? Clarity may be the most important quality for a presenter, and people who are able to deliver crystal clear messages always impress me.
A few months ago, I had the chance to attend a training session about “how to pitch”. I will try to sum-up the key points.
1.BREAK THE ICE 🤡
It’s important to pivot your audience from stand-by mode to “active listeners”. Start with a joke, a question, a tease… You need to find a way to kick off your session without saying something like “today I will present you the results of Q3”.
2.Don’t present. PITCH💥!
Don’t be a slave to your PowerPoint presentation. If your laptop is broken on D-Day, you should be able to pitch your topic without any tools.
You should be able to TELL A STORY. Therefore, the most important thing will be the structure and the flow of this story telling!
Another way to keep your presentation more tight is to use a method like Pecha Kucha. Pecha Kucha is a style of presenting that uses a maximum 20 slides, each on screen for 20 seconds. Maybe a bit extreme, but keep in mind that if a single topic can’t be pitched in 15 minutes, you should be looking to simplify!
Please find hereafter a 10 slides pitch template for innovative product/services :
3.Start with the WHY 🔍
We are always tempted to be straight to the point and to go directly to the solution. Start to explain Why this topic is important, why we need to change, why it will solve a problem we have. Learn more here
4.FOCUS ON FACTS, not assumptions 📊
Verbatim, Quotes, Numbers, Surveys are always more powerful than assumptions. Remember to always provide the source of information in the notes is people require.
5.CALL TO ACTION 🏁
If you presented all these things to all these people, you should be looking for something. At the end of your pitch, there should be a call to action, and a desire for them to start something, to change something, to call someone …
And by the way, if there is no call to action or decision and if you just want to provide information, maybe a presentation isn’t the best channel. Maybe you can just record a video with a voice over, send a SMS or an email, post on workplace 😉