Are you pitching to a customer, an investor, a employee? Each is a different pitch. Are you pitching the company, the product, an investment, yourself? Again each is a different pitch. Too often a pitch is given that seems “canned” or just out of place. When you are planning your pitch, here are some guidelines to use.
- Start with the end. What is it you want from the audience. Keep this in the front of your mind through out the process of creating the presentation.
- Follow the 10/20/30 rule. 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 point fonts. While somewhat extreme for some situations, this is a good guideline to follow. The number of slides needs to be kept to the minimum required. If you have an hour to present, do not start out to fill the hour. I try to plain a minute of discussion for every minute of presentation. Keep the font size large for two reasons. First older people like me sometimes cannot see the small fonts. More importantly, it will force you to stay on point and use fewer words.
- Build a set of backup slides if needed and keep them hidden unless you need them. Keep the main presentation on target to the end goal. Any information that is not directly relevant or is considered supporting information can be moved to a backup set of slides and used only if needed.
- Finally, practice, out loud! There is a significant difference between reading the slides in your mind and actually standing up and presenting the information. Standing up and speaking out loud helps you understand the real duration of the presentation and clarify your message.
Presenting well takes practice. But even with practice, you need to make sure your presentations are to the point and as brief as possible. Your audience will appreciate your respect for their time.