There’s some good stuff in this Wired article about how to deliver a pitch. My general approach is to develop a theme: a key concept and messages that every single slide and talking point relate back to. Identify the key ‘takeways’ that you want your listeners to leave with, and consistently build on those.
The suggestions in the article are:
1. NINE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
“It should only take nine minutes to pitch an idea.”
I’ve usually had 10 minutes – it’s the limit that the TUANZ finalists are allowed, and it’s really, really tough. You need to stick to your core message, but still deliver it at a controlled pace.
2. BREAK IT DOWN
“Split it further into manageable chunks.”
Your pitch should revolve around a single key message. Pound it home on every slide and make sure all your talking points relate back to it. You’ll lose your audience if you wander off into anecdotes. You can have multiple aspects to the same message, but they must all relate back to it.
3. GO WITH YOUR FLOW
“Don’t take questions until the end”
I don’t know about that one – someone who thoroughly knows their material should be able to take questions and then resume without any problems. Otherwise it would look too rehersed and scripted.
4. SEEK THE EMPATHY VOTE
“You need people to think, ‘I care about this,'”
One of the very first points to make is, “what is this and why should I care”. Too often I see people leaving this to the very end, and their audience has lost interest, unable to see the relevance.
5. CRANK UP THE TENSION
“Spark curiosity by telling your audience something they don’t already know.”
Absolutely true, and a really good idea.
6. NOW MAKE IT REAL
“Use an analogy from another industry to get them to understand the value.”
Even if you’ve invented something completely different from everything else (which I don’t believe – if that’s what you think then you haven’t done enough market research), it will be very hard for people to appreciate it without a comparison. Find something that it compares to (not too cheesy), and illustrate the benefits.