Is Your Pitch Putting People to Sleep?

If you’re a small business owner, you pitch in one way or another. If you run a startup, maybe you pitch investors in hopes that they’ll pour funds into your company. If you’re an entrepreneur, you pitch potential clients on working with you.

Whatever your pitch, Oren Klaff would pick it apart.

He’s the author of Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal. He’s pitched big-time investors, and he’s learned a thing or two about pitches.

Here are some of the common mistakes he mentions in his book.

1. Your Pitch is Too Long. Klaff says a lot of business owners assume their idea is complicated, or that it warrants an hour’s presentation. But after 20 minutes, your audience loses interest, no matter how fascinating your presentation.

In the book, he boils down the perfect presentation to 20 minutes:

  1. Introduce yourself and your big idea: 5 minutes
  2. Explain the budget and secret sauce: 10 minutes
  3. Offer the deal: 2 minutes
  4. Stack frames for a hot cognition (make your audience want it before they understand it): 3 minutes

2. You Talk too Much About Yourself. Naturally, you want to prove that you’ve got the skills and experience to make this pitch worth listening to, but Klaff says your audience doesn’t care. Skim over the high points of your experience, then move on to the big idea, which is what they’re here to hear.

3. You Dive into Too Many Technical Details. These minutiae can come later, after you’ve shaken hands to close the deal. Investors, customers — whoever — want just enough details in your presentation to want to learn more later.

Klaff’s book is an exercise in humility for anyone who thinks they’ve already got the perfect pitch. But I guarantee: you’ll learn a lot and gain insight into close more deals and get what you want from a pitch from Pitch Anything.


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