Frame the structure of your presentation
No matter if you're pitching to your potential business partner, or sharing key ideas with your coworkers, it’s important to frame your presentation in order to guide your audience with your own flow. Here’s how you can structure your presentation by answering the following questions:
1. What’s the idea?
Unlike watching a movie or reading a book, when you’re doing a pitch or a presentation, your audience in front of you doesn’t have the patience to wait until the end to find out what happens. Start off your presentation with a headline. If you’re meeting to discuss a new budget, capture the audience's attention in a few sentences: “Thank you for everyone’s great work. You’ll be happy to know that we’ve been approved for a budget increase of 15%”. With a clear headline of what to expect, people will be more likely to pay attention to what you’re about to say.
2. What’s in it for me?
Once you’ve grabbed your audience’s attention, your audience would want to know why they need to listen to you, precisely, what’s in it for them. You need to show them the benefits of your idea worth their attention and their time.
A marketing plan presentation could begin like this: “We’ve run the numbers. By the end of this quarter, we’ll be able to obtain 10,000 new users with fewer budget spending.” If numbers help with visualising the benefits of your idea, try putting them upfront and sell your ideas as soon as possible.
3.Do you have a genuine story to tell?
Numbers and figures do great wonders in pitches, but a pitch that drowns people in a pool of numbers might do the opposite.
Everyone loves a great story. Your audience might not remember every detail on your slide, but they sure will remember the stories you tell. Storytelling is an ancient rhetorical technique to pass on information. Your stories can be trivials happen in life. With genuine stories filling in the gaps in your pitch, it’s easier to connect with your audience.
Connect with your audience
In a pitch or a presentation, your job is to convince them and sell them your ideas. Instead of just plain talking or sharing, try connecting with your audience.
Going back to the three questions, your presentation shouldn’t limit to only sharing what you want people to hear. Rather, it’s crucial to tailor-make your content to fit your audience. This is where improv skills come in handy. Try connecting with your audience by rephrasing what they’ve mentioned before: “You’ve mentioned that your organization envisions changing the future of the education industry. This aligns with what I have in mind and what I’ve prepared for in this pitch.” With just a few sentences, your audience can tell what you’re about to say will be addressing what they want to hear.
Always use YES, AND
When pitching an innovative idea, people would be eager to ask questions and want to understand more about different aspects of your pitch. If there’s any type of interruptions or distraction, instead of getting rattled or ignoring them, think about how you can move on with it by agreeing to what they’ve said. When someone raises a question in the midst of your pitch, try this instead: “YES I see your point, AND I agree that this will definitely stir up discussions in the team. As long as we’re communicating and reminding people of the greater cause, it could be an opportunity to start something more meaningful.” By accepting another person’s new idea and then expanding on it, you can discover new opportunities and ways of connecting multiple visions in your pitch.
We’re all capable of improvising every day. Improvising can be fun, not only as a comedy technique, but also in your everyday communications and your presentations. As long as you frame your pitch, connect with your audience and add to what people are saying, you’ll nail your next presentation and leave an unforgettable impression.
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