How to pitch perfectly, in two minutes

Last week I had the pleasure of working with the Rexona Clinical Women’s Agenda Pitch Off finalists on refining their pitch. It was a wonderful experience and I am so looking forward to the event on Thursday to see who ends up winning.

What I found interesting was that each of the finalists started our session with comments such as: two minutes really isn’t long at all; I’m worried I will run out of time; or even….oh, I can’t use PowerPoint!

For a society so heavily reliant on texting, Tweeting or other forms of ‘sound biting’ our lives – it’s fascinating that when someone takes away the opportunity for us to take our time, we push back!

Well, I’m pleased to confirm that by the end of each session we agreed what was required could definitely be achieved within the two minute pitch.

That’s possibly by using a formula that could be used for any type of pitch – pull out the important bits; personalise it to the audience; make sure you answer the ‘brief’ (in this case the competition criteria); while ensuring your personality shines through. Let’s break it down a little bit in context of delivering a client pitch:

  • Time keeping: if you can take less time to explain your point, then do it, everyone enjoys time back in their day. But if takes a bit longer and your audience is engaged the whole time, use all of it. Do NOT go over time, it shows a lack of respect.
  • Props: consider these carefully, they can border on naff, but if they help inject your personality to a pitch, or to confirm to your client that you understand the core of their issue bring (or send prior) a prop. NB PPT is NOT a prop.
  • Know your audience: no matter who you’re presenting to, if you have NOT done some background research and tailored what you have to say to them, they WILL be bored. So, consider who they are; what they specialise in; what would get their attention (stats, data, pictures, big statements, etc).
  • Answer the brief: be clear on the criteria or brief you are pitching in response to. Revisit this throughout your preparation time, confirm you have met the brief, then consider how you could go over and above (budget and client appetite pending).
  • About you: yes, this is last – NOT first – don’t waste time in a pitch big’ing yourself up, keep it succinct and align it to a point that will help the client agree you are who they want to work with.

Well, I wish all the Rexona Clinical Women’s Agenda Pitch Off finalists the best of luck on Thursday. And I hope these pitch tips help you too.

Women's AgendaThis article was originally published by Women’s Agenda in November 2014: How to pitch perfectly, in two minutes

I hope it helps with your pitches.