“I don’t think I’m confident enough to pitch and get funding—with so much competition,” my new client, Will, said.
After we went through details to ensure the value and soundness of Will’s business offering and plan, we focused on his real concerns concerning presenting a pitch.
As an Executive Coach, Pitch Coach and the Spoken Word Strategist, I help my clients hone their skills and performances.
“Will, you’ll experience Extreme Confidence through a process of developing new skills and shifting out of your ‘default-settings,’ I assured him.
I’ll share how to break Three Default Settings:
1. Break Default Setting #1 – Retreating from Tough Questions
Confidence is contagious. You need your body language AND your words to work together to express confidence in your project and your own abilities.
I’ve seen speakers/pitch-makers look confused and overwhelmed by tough questions posed by potential investors. The pitch-maker’s body language causes trouble when they reflexively take a couple of steps back—away from the questioner.
In my workshop “Pitch with Extreme Confidence: The Pitch Hacking Method,” I have attendees work with a partner and practice taking one to two steps forward and toward the person posing a tough question.
While the pitch-maker is stepping forward, they say a “Catch the Question – Reply.” This is a reply that sounds like: “George, I hear that’s important to you” or “Susan, I’m glad you brought that up. This is a good time for me to address that.”
Even if you have no ready answer, you can buy yourself time with something like: “George, I hear that’s important to you. I’ll need to pause for a moment. I want my answer to be useful to you.”
You might call this a way to “stall with poise.” By the time, you have finished saying your memorized Catch the Question – Reply, your mind will have some ideas for your response.
2. Break Default Setting #2 – Providing Too Much Data
I’ve noted in meetings in Silicon Valley, CA that some people try to combat nervousness by burying the audience in tech details. What we really need is to present briefly. You need to be able to communicate the essence of your offer in these three durations: 1 minute, 5 minutes and 15 minutes. Provide the most compelling detail. You’re looking for the “Telling Detail.” For example, I saw a film producer flub a presentation by presenting too much data. He would have been better off to have said simply: “This music star has earned numerous awards. Two of his albums have gone Platinum.” That’s it. The tech investors in the room would have received the point.
Trim your presentation. Ask yourself these questions:
* What’s the most important thing the investors want to know?
* What would grab their attention?
3. Break Default Setting #3 – Missing the Storytelling Opportunity
Researchers note that human beings are conditioned to like and relate to stories.
Successful pitch-makers often use a “narrative frame” so that the audience can feel the essence of the offer. [I talked about the narrative frame during a recent phone conference call for my group Pitch Power Fest CLICK HERE to see the meetup.com group]. The narrative frame includes these standard elements: Hero, Hero’s assistant, Victim, Villain.
Your first sentence or question can set up your compelling story. Here are examples:
- What element of _____ are the XY companies missing? And how is this hurting customers today – and every day? [Customers are the victims. The particular companies are the “villains.”]
- What causes the trouble with ____? Who can save ____[X million] people their hard-earned cash and ______?
I’ll put this in few words: “Tell the Compelling Story!”
A story can be as brief as one sentence.
Here are examples:
“Using just one of Tom Marcoux’s methods, I got more done in 2 weeks than in 6 months.” – Jaclyn Freitas, MA
“Tom Marcoux coached me to get more done in 10 days than 2 years with other coaches.” – Brad Carlson, CEO of Mindstrong, LLC
In summary, the way to deliver a powerful pitch with extreme confidence is to use Pitch Hacks. (Hack often refers to a creative, clever solution!)
I’ve shared with you the Pitch Hacks of breaking Three Default Settings.
The best to you with your next pitch.
Spoken Word Strategist
CEO (leading teams in United Kingdom, India and USA)