In the last week, I’ve been lucky enough to participate in two events where the presenters were extremely purposeful with the information they communicated in a very public setting. Better known as a 5 minute pitch.
Last Tuesday I headed out to the Blue Valley CAPS building to watch the High School (YES…HIGH SCHOOL) Junior/Seniors in the CAPS Excelerator present their final projects. Each student team had 5 minutes to summarize their SEMESTER’S worth of work.
Tonight I was given the opportunity to judge the final pitches for the graduates of the Kauffman FastTrac TechVenture program where they each had 5 minutes to pitch their new business venture.
In both cases, the very real pressure of time and an audience produced “pitches” where the presenter was well rehearsed and somewhat formulaic in structure. I don’t want to give the impression that any of the presenters were boring; as a matter of fact, most of them were extremely dynamic. Instead, I want you to consider the importance of knowing your content, focusing in on the key points and keeping the attention of your audience by reducing needless filler content.
Before you stand up or sit down in front of a group of people to communicate information, consider these simple observations I had as an audience member/judge:
1) Define the problem – Why did you call this meeting? Is there a customer being impacted? Is there money/time to be made/saved?
2) Clearly articulate the solution – Ok, that sounds like a big opportunity…do you have a creative way of fixing that problem?
3) What does success look like – You have my attention…So how much money/time can you make/save exactly?
4) What do you need to be successful – Woah, I’m in! Why are we still standing here? What’s standing in your way?
I’m not sure why 30 to 60 minutes became the standard for conveying information in the corporate world… Meetings are painful and the people you invite are VERY expensive resources.
Make your next meeting less like a meeting and more like a pitch…at the very least start with #1 and see where things go.
Want to get crazy? Rehearse your “pitch” and get a peer to limit it to 5 minutes. You’ll be shocked at the progress that follows.