When you really think about it, life is just one big presentation. We are constantly displaying ourselves to the world and shaping the way it perceives us, whether we like it or not. But controlling this narrative takes you from simply presenting yourself to confidently pitching yourself.
The art of persuasive communication is a key professional skill to have, whether you need to pitch your business to investors and future clients; have a great idea that you want to take to your boss; or are attempting to convince a future employer that you’re the right person for the job.
Pete Cunningham, co-founder of award-winning Brisbane-based creative agency Redsuit and the founder of Redsuit’s presentation skills hub, Pitch Camp, recently joined us at the Hub to share his pitching playbook that took Redsuit from nine employees to 35 employees in just two years.
For those who couldn’t attend, here are the key takeaways from Pete’s presentation.
The three golden rules for a great pitch
Words by Pete Cunningham
Every great pitch is underpinned by three things: Knowing your audience, knowing your stuff and committing to a structure.
- Know your audience
Your audience is the star of your show and they have the power to say yes or no to whatever you are presenting.
If you reframe your thinking to focus on your audience and their needs, rather than you and your business needs, not only do the nerves tend to fall away, but you’ll end up providing material that will get your audience across the line and set yourself up for all sorts of positive outcomes.
To get started ask yourself:
- Who are we talking to? What do they do? Why do they do it? How long have they been doing it? Where do they do it? Who are their influencers? What pleases them? What annoys them? What frustrates them? What transformation are they seeking?
- Where are we in their minds? What do they think about us? What do they think about our offering? What has been their experience of us in the past? Do they trust us? What risks do we bring? What does what we are proposing do for their current needs? Do they have a preferred alternative?
- What’s the problem they are trying to solve? What are their challenges? How do we propose to solve these challenges?
- What is the promise? What is the single most compelling benefit?
2. Know your stuff
While it may seem obvious, you need to ensure you are across your entire presentation, including the areas that don’t necessarily sit within your business responsibilities.
You should expect to be asked questions at the end of your pitch, and it will become very clear if you only know your script.
3. Commit to a structure
A structure is non-negotiable when it comes to your presentation, and it is just as important as the structure of a sporting team, your house or a great novel. Just about anything we are called on to do is underpinned by a structure – yet for some reason it is often overlooked when it comes to pitching.
If you don’t take anything else out of this playbook, I’d encourage you to find a structure that can be your go-to anytime you present.
A persuasive pitching structure should follow a pyramid process and while you present from the top, when developing your pitch, you should start at the bottom and work your way up. It should include:
Take your time to work through the process. If you aren’t inputting quality information into your structure, chances are it won’t be doing you any favours.
If you want to pitch like a pro, borrow from the pro’s playbook – and as the saying goes, if you fail to prepare, then you can prepare to fail.