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How to Pitch a Perfect Presentation


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Startups make pitches all the time; to potential investors, for sure, but also prospective employees, customers, landlords, and more. Do you really need that 20-slide PowerPoint deck? Maybe not -- but with the stakes so high, it's worth your best effort. A presentation can make or break a company, and having the skills of a good presenter are invaluable in all aspects of life.

How do you persuade people with your words and your voice?

You don't need Dale Carnegie -- but you might be able to use a few simple pointers to help craft your perfect presentation.

Published in: Career, Technology, Business
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How to Pitch a Perfect Presentation

  1. 1. presents How to Pitch a Perfect Presentation EMILY GREEN @emilynaglegreen
  2. 2. Emily Green Emily Green is a long-time technology sector executive and thought leader. Currently she's the CEO and Chief Lunch Lady of Smart Lunches, a rapidly growing startup bringing fresh nutritious meals to children away from home with an award-winning online ordering and delivery platform. She is a past Chairman of MITX, the nation's largest Internet advocacy association, and currently serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of the Mass Technology Collaborative, and as a Director on the Board of Casella Waste Systems. 
  3. 3. Pitch perfect How to give a great speech Emily Green Smart Lunches, Inc.
  4. 4. Who are you? First name ! Company, if you want ! Best or worst moment 
 pitching something to someone
  5. 5. Great speakers aren’t born – they’re made
  6. 6. Agenda 1. What is a great pitch? 2. Preparing the pitch 3. Preparing yourself
  7. 7. What’s a pitch? Founder presenting to an investor Salesperson selling to a prospect Manager asking for resources Team members reporting updates
  8. 8. What’s a great pitch? Memorable. “Wow, that was awesome!” Impactful. “We decided to go with her plan.” “That changed our view completely.” A speech needs both results to be great.
  9. 9. Preparing the pitch 1. Start with a clear goal 2. Know your audience 3. Define a time budget 4. Use a simple structure 5. Guide your listeners
  10. 10. Start with a clear goal Muddy ambitions produce muddy presentations Clear goals begin with a sharp verb Persuade … Inspire … Frighten … Teach … The verb shapes content and delivery
  11. 11. Know your audience ü Size, age, origin and status determines how formal you should be
 ü Awareness of topic determines depth
 ü Attitude guides how much proof is needed
  12. 12. Define a time budget What’s right for this opportunity? Let it shape length Too long is never OK
 “Aim to stop talking before they stop listening.”
  13. 13. Use a simple structure Theme (say what you’re going to say) If your listeners remember one thing... Agenda (what you’re going to say) Just the 2, 3, or 4 points you need! Summary (say what you said)
  14. 14. Let’s try it Plan a simple structure to sell me on using Acme widgets to catch roadrunners
  15. 15. Buy Acme Widgets! Theme Acme Widgets are the only way to capture roadrunners Agenda 1.You have problems catching roadrunners 2.Acme Widgets deliver unique solutions 3.Coyotes have won with Acme 4.Next steps for Wile E. and Acme Summary • Roadrunners are hard to catch • Acme Widgets work • Enjoy your tasty roadrunner!
  16. 16. A few words about your words Bullets, not buckshot It’s about them, not you Speak Anglo-Saxon Don’t be a weasel
  17. 17. Improve these phrases “Could potentially decrease substantially” ! “Contemplate addition of incremental investment” ! “We have arrived at critical juncture” “Will go down -- a lot” ! ! “Spend more” ! ! ! “Go time!”
  18. 18. If you use slides... Keep them simple Say what they say! Build, build, build Balance text and graphics Don’t go all Disney
  19. 19. Prove it! Season with care Examples win Know what data says Source it Strip it back Preview and build
  20. 20. Our behaviors are changing fast Source: Yankee Group Anywhere Consumer survey 2011, waves 2 (February) and 5 (May) Percentofrespondents 0% 18% 35% 53% 70% 57% 65% 43% 35% Do you ever use your smartphone 
 to compare prices or find reviews while shopping? Yes No Eight-point rise in 4 months
  21. 21. Guide your listeners Attention wanders constantly Tell them where they are regularly Repeat your theme
  22. 22. Great speakers aren’t born – they’re made
  23. 23. Agenda 1. What is a great pitch? 2. Preparing the pitch 3. Preparing yourself
  24. 24. Preparing yourself 1. Plan your style 2. Practice the pitch 3. Optimize your environment 4. Manage your nerves 5. Polish to eliminate distractions
  25. 25. Plan your style Speeches aren’t one- size-fits-all occasions Remember your verb Consider style, posture, expressions Imagery helps
  26. 26. Practice the speech Talk it out alone -- 
 watch the time Get feedback REVISE ruthlessly! DON’T memorize it all – 
 just the phrases that matter
  27. 27. Optimize your environment Test… and have a backup Have room to move Don’t let the room go dark Don’t let your clothing distract Limit clutter around you Delay the handouts!
  28. 28. Manage your nerves ü Welcome the symptoms ü Memorize your first sentence ü Breathe s-l-o-w-l-y and very deeply ü Collect survival stories
  29. 29. What’s the thing you fear most?
  30. 30. Polishing pays off Volume and tempo make the biggest difference after thoughtful content Critique other speeches Knock out habits that distract your listeners Repetitive words or phrases Fussing with hair and clothing Pacing
  31. 31. Avoid. these. mistakes. Too many ideas Too much preamble Too much text Too much multimedia Too much apologizing Too much fussing Too much time Too little thought Too little structure Too little rehearsal ... too little impact
  32. 32. Summary Plan Practice Polish ! … repeat!
  33. 33. THANK YOU Emily Green Smart Lunches, Inc.
  34. 34. Course Title   Course Title INSTRUCTOR NAME