Karen's Blog

Crafting the perfect pitch

As entrepreneurs and business leaders we have to deliver all manner of presentations and pitches. The biggie is often considered to be the pitch to investors. One way we can really help to shape the odds in our favour is by working with a professional pitch coach to make sure we’re pitch perfect, and not pitch pointless, when we take the stage.

There are tons of professional pitch coaches out there and it’s important to pick one you feel safe and comfortable with because they’ll really push you out of your comfort zone making you feel vulnerable, often in front of a group, which is extremely uncomfortable for most of us.

Pitch coaches have their own individual style and techniques, but they all agree on the importance of keeping the message concise, clear and to the point.

Ryan Foland is a communication strategist who loves helping people convey their businesses and personal brands more efficiently. I recently had the pleasure of hearing his master class at the ANJE conference in Portugal where he shared his powerful 3-1-3 technique to help entrepreneurs get to the heart of, not just one, but a selection of perfect pitches fast.

“When asked ‘what do you do?’ most entrepreneurs start off on a rambling story that goes off topic and loses the listener, and when you’ve only got one minute and one chance to get your message across to someone who has the potential to be important to you, that’s not an opportunity you want to mess up,” says Ryan.

“My 3-1-3 technique helps people discover the biggest problem they are solving and then we work to explain that issue in just one sentence. We repeat the process for describing the solution and the target market,” he adds.

By the end of The 3-1-3, entrepreneurs are able to describe their great idea or business in three sentences, then just one sentence and then just three words.

“If we take those first three sentences,” explains Ryan, “and we switch them around in different orders, we suddenly have six different ‘pitches’ to describe our great idea or business to a particular audience, investors, for example. When people get confident with their 3-1-3 they come up with different versions for different audiences, creating even greater combinations of the pitch.”

According to Ryan, those learning The 3-1-3 notice how their audience – and that could be a customer, board members, an investor, the media – is more receptive and engaged and how this leads to valuable exchanges and successful pitches, depending on the nature of the pitch, whether it’s buy-in from the board, a new customer order, the first round of investment, or the sell-in of a story to the media.

By the end of The 3-1-3 coaching with Ryan, entrepreneurs are not only able to pitch clearly and concisely, but they also realize the importance of understanding an audience and using relational terminology.

“Just a slight tweak in a word can make a big difference to a particular audience. It’s important to talk your audience’s language. It’s also important to say less and listen more. Too many of us talk too much. By listening more we’re in a better position to ask the right questions, which leads to a more dynamic and meaningful dialogue.”

Ryan’s other top tips for perfect pitching include explaining what you do before sharing how you do it, and knowing your target market.

“It never fails to amaze me how many entrepreneurs say ‘my product is suitable for anyone and everyone’. I can’t bear ‘A&E’. Nothing is for anyone and everyone. You need to be precise and not just concise. Knowing your target market is key to communicating your vision, because as soon as you’re able to do that your customer is motivated because they know you have the solution to their pain and that’s a happy customer.”

To work with Ryan and have him help you through the 3-1-3, find out more information at www.ryanfoland.com

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