You may not feel prepared to build a birdhouse or a bookshelf, but with some detailed instructions and a bit of wood glue, it’s possible. In the same way, a presentation pitch to sell an idea, product, or service can be DIY with a little bit of know-how and the right instructions. This is because, much like birdhouses, most pitches are built the same way. Wield these 7 building blocks to create a compelling argument on just about anything:
It all starts here: what’s wrong? What irritates your audience? What irritates you? Use this introduction to compel your audience to say, “oh yeah, something definitely should be done about this.” If you’re not sure what your idea solves or addresses, then paint a current picture of how the market or even your life was before the idea came along.
Whatever you are pitching needs to swoop down on your introductory problem like Superman to the rescue. The solution should be delivered in no more than a sentence or two, and clear enough for your audience to confidently share with others later. Don’t get into details about how your time machine works or how your doughnut startup has gotten rave reviews from grandmothers all over; instead, stick to a shorthand message and save the details for later.
3. Why Now?
Adding a sense of urgency is essential to any pitch. “In ten years, we might-possibly-potentially need to address the city’s bird problem” isn’t going to convince anyone to support your cause. Add a sentence or two after the solution that gives your audience some context about why you are pitching to them today.
This could also be called the “market size,” and usually covers a bit of information about the reach of your pitch or solution. How many people are currently experiencing the problem introduced in the beginning? How large or meaningful would the effect of your solution be? This gives the audience a chance to understand its growth potential and reach.
In the same vein as the opportunity or market size, letting the audience know you are aware of other solutions or any competition (or lack thereof) will give your pitch credibility. For instance, you might not be the only sandwich shop in the neighborhood, but you’ve got a French dip that is going to shake the taste foundations of everyone in the county.
6. Nitty Gritty
Depending on the time you have and the subject of your pitch, this is where you put a little bit more detail or data to further convince your audience. This can include financials, information on your team, and other need-to-know information. Your listeners should be already convinced by the concise rhetoric of your earlier message, so this section is more about giving them a “grand finale” of information.
7. Call to Action
This is the most important element of an entire pitch: what do you want your audience to do the moment after you stop talking? Reiterate the same sense of urgency that you introduced in the “why now?” section, and make sure your call-to-action is an easy thing for your audience to accomplish. Want an email address? A high-five? 20 dollars? Be clear and no-nonsense about it.
Feeling ready to tackle your next big pitch? Following these instructions can help you become the presentation handyman you were born to be. And remember: keep it brief, keep it in order, and use a lot of wood glue.