Pitching: Making the event organizer listen
There is no reason to beat around the bush: in this line of work we talk a lot.
While mostly this is a good thing, there is one place in particular where less is so much more: pitching.
We asked pitch-expert David Beckett how to make bureaus, event organizers and companies gravitate towards our messages.
Not surprisingly, it all starts with a precise pitch.
For David Beckett, it was a chance encounter with a new boss that got him attuned to the wonders of an accurate pitch.
“It was 1992, and I had just joined Canon. My new boss, Lance Miller, says to me: ‘If they ask for a sheet of A4, give them a document. If they want a document, give them a presentation. And if they ask for a presentation, give them the best damn pitch they’ve ever seen!’
Lance had worked in advertising for 20 years and could present a mouse so that you would believe it was a well-groomed elephant. He taught me the attitude of presenting at a higher level than the audience ever expected — on paper and in person.
I took it seriously and focused hard on my presentation skills. This became a massive asset in my 16-year corporate career because what I learned was, in a large company, people who can present well are overrated and listened to. People who can’t present well are underrated and listened to less. It’s a brutal reality; the impact this single skill can have on the career and confidence of any professional.”
Show them how you can help
“Fast forward 21 years. I’m starting as a pitch-coach, and am sitting in the HQ of Startupbootcamp, an accelerator program for startups. Patrick De Zeeuw, a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Startupbootcamp, is reviewing one team’s pitch — and he’s not happy.
‘Where’s the pain? Stick the fork in and twist it!’”
De Zeeuw is not being sadistic, he is calling for the pitch to matter.
There is nothing in the pitch to make him feel.
He asks why he should care.
Companies, event organizers and similar will come at you from the same angle — what are you solving for them?
Too often we squander the opportunity to tell people why they need us.
Take a look at speakers on Linkedin and you will quickly find examples of a cardinal sin of pitching.
When given a chance to explain their value (it is possible right under your profile picture on your profile page) way too many people write ‘professional speaker,’ ‘TEDx speaker’ or something similar.
It should always be qualified with your topic or the pain you are easing.
This is like putting a sign outside a café with an arrow and text that simply says ‘building.’ No one does that because it isn’t helpful. There has to be a hook (i.e Coffee here!).
You should put a hook into your pitch the same way.
Instead of saying you are a speaker, draw the event organizer by being specific about what you talk about and why it matters.
Soaking in acid
When it comes right down to it, pitching is about “focusing on the right stuff within a tight time limit.” You need to take your message for a swim in acid, and remove everything but non-essentials.
Beckett gives several handy tips for achieving this in his book Pitch To Win.
Here’s our favorite three.
Top 3 ideas from Pitch to Win
- Never start with the tools.
Don’t start by creating your website and coming up with the copy while you are making the site. Start by deciding what you want to say about what you do. Once you have this clear, you can share a congruent message about who you are and what you do across all platforms and tools, such as your introduction or final slides, in a one-pager, on Twitter profile, and on your website.
2. Never speak faster than 140 words per minute.
There are tools you can download on your phone to check your speed. People will not be able to understand if you talk faster than this.
3. An example is worth a thousand words.
Don’t tell the event organizer you provide, for example, sales training. Tell them that ‘Company X used my services to motivate their salespeople, who performed 25% better after hearing my talk …’.
If you want to know more, reach out to David.
Closing the book
If you want to create a pitch that gets you hired, look at things from the perspective of the event organizer. Clearly address how working with you will help them.
David Beckett is an international pitch coach. In his book Pitch To Win he covers the elements of a great pitch, will teach you how to talk about yourself and your talk in a way that will get event organizers’ attention.
His website is at Best3Minutes.com
If you’d like to see the original version of this article on SpeakerLoft, please visit this link.
If you’d like to purchase your own copy of Pitch To Win, click on this affiliate link.
Want to know more?
Being able to talk to an event organizer and sell your talk can help you build your business. We have a selection of articles and expert interviews that explore this topic:
- How to create your elevator pitch and defining your “Why choose me” statement
- How to sell your talk to an event organizer
- Self-promotion without narcissism
- A guide to booking your first TED Talk
World of Speakers Podcast interviews:
- E.23: Sell your talk with Kim Orlesky
- E.47: Creating value and connections with your talks with Drew Dudley
- E.13: What event organizers look for with Jen Guerrero
- E.33: Chocolate bunnies, bowling, and broadswords: how to break into the speaking industry with Cynthia Johnson
This was originally posted on SpeakerHub Skillcamp.