preparing for a pitch presentation

I happened to bump into Xavier – an MBA classmate from NYU Stern a few months back when we both got stuck in the rain whilst trying to hail down a taxi. It was rush hour (and raining!) never a good combination, but as fate would have it, Xavier was on the very same sidewalk also looking for a taxi.

“Natsuyo!….How are you?…. ”

We ended up sharing the same taxi to 57th street.

He had been promoted to CEO since I last saw him 7 years ago. It’s no surprise because I always knew he would make it to the top – he’s confident, resilient with great charisma. When I told him that I was a keynote speaker and presentation coach he happened to mention that he had to give a sales presentation next week in the hope of winning a large contract.

“I hope you’re prepared!” I laughed, jokingly.

“Well… I’ve done my slides…” he replied, confidently.

I was cringing inside because I knew that having great slides was not enough. In fact, the moment PowerPoint slides are mentioned, I’m thinking ‘Where’s the story?!’ ‘How is he going to engage with this audience and stand out amongst the other companies who are also pitching?’

Of course, I wasn’t going to say anything. It wasn’t my place. He knew where I was if he ever needed my help.

I wished him luck and we parted company at Carnegie Hall on 57th Street.

The very next day I received a message from him on LinkedIn.

“Call me.”

Ha! I knew immediately what this was going to be about…

We arranged a 1-to-1 session. We got clear on who his audience was, the key messages he wanted to give, and together we created a step-by-step strategy that supported him through the process, and we created a powerful and unforgettable pitch presentation.

He got to practice his presentation with me until I was happy that his audience would TAKE ACTION once they’d heard it.

This presentation was a fork in the road for Xavier’s organization. If he succeeded it would be a multi-million dollar deal, but if he hadn’t prepared he could leave with a damaged reputation and a HUGE lost opportunity. The stakes were too high for him to go into that room and “wing it.”

The end result was that his presentation was significantly shorter than his original version, with no need for slides, with no repetitions, clichés or obvious truisms that the audience would have heard many times before. Of the other five companies pitching, my client was the only one to be applauded when he finished.

He won the deal.

I’m telling you this story, because I KNOW there are other leaders out there in Xavier’s situation; confident public speakers who think they can prepare a few slides and then hope for the best. The truth is, even seasoned speaking pros who make it look effortless, prepare for every single speech.

We may not get to bump into each other waiting in the rain for a taxi, but you should at least have a FREE 15-minute call with me to find out how I can help you. Because when you need your message to not only be heard but ACTED UPON, you need a strategy that’s succinct and clear, that you can use EVERY TIME to give you the outcome you desire. THAT’S the difference I can make…. It could be a multi-million dollar deal difference.

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