Pitch Your Next Idea Like a Stand Up Comedian

I need to be able to grab my audience’s attention and last for at least five minutes. I also need to understand that sealing the deal isn’t necessarily about how good I am at what I do, but about how well I tell my story.

Papa CJ

Get to the punchline as soon as possible.

The first punchline is delivered in the first 15 seconds. The second punchline is delivered in the next 15 seconds. You earn the right to speak for a longer duration before the next punchline.

If you’re pitching an idea, don’t start with, “I’m so excited about the opportunity to be sharing this idea. Your mentorship on it would be invaluable.” You audience already knows that. Instead, throw in your teaser immediately. You might start with, “Our pilot has been proven by a $2,000,000 revenue in the last 3 months.” With that, you’ve instantly established credibility.

Don’t make assumptions about your audiences’ knowledge.

If your audience does not understand what you are saying, you’ve lost them. You do not get the benefit of the doubt. So don’t make any assumptions about their prior knowledge of what you are presenting on.

If you want to use terms like “blue ocean strategy” or “whitewater change” because you want to sound corporate-y, make sure to explain what they mean, or better still, keep it simple and call it what it is.

Keep culture in mind.

Think about a presentation or an idea you’re pitching. Who is your audience? Would your idea excite them or offend them?

People will only support your idea when it is useful, exciting, relevant, and obviously, not offensive. To do this, find yourself that “local” (a senior manager, a mentor, or a friend in a similar industry) who can listen to your pitch and give your constructive feedback.

Address your audiences’ questions swiftly.

If a member of your audience has a question or objection, be in the moment and address it immediately.

Don’t stick to your script. If you don’t adapt instantly, while they may not gong you off, they will either begin to doubt you or that question will sit firmly in the center of their minds for the remainder of your presentation. Neither of these outcomes is in your favor.

Keep it short.

Your time is limited and so is their attention. Use just as many words as you need to get to your point and not one more.

Show your stakeholders that you have made the effort to respect their time. It says a lot about you as a human being and a professional.

[By Papa CJ, Via]

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