Your Pitch Should Be Ten Minutes

April 15, 2014
by Scott Johnson

I was in a pitch meeting yesterday, and after the customary preamble, the presenter opened his laptop and said, in a very energetic tone, “I have a ten minute pitch, and then we can have a conversation.” I can’t think of a smarter way to set the tone of a pitch meeting. I don’t have the data to support it, but I have observed that quite often the success of an investment is inversely related to the length of the pitch. Further, you will get more questions answered this way than using your allotted time talking. Not to mention creating a much closer tie with the buyer.

That superior pitches are shorter makes sense of course. It takes a while to spin convincing arguments to support weak points in a pitch. The good stories tend to tell themselves very quickly. If you are killing it, you can let the numbers do the talking in a few short slides. If you are highly differentiated, again, a few slides or a demo can make the point efficiently. If the team is awesome, then that part of the pitch is a two minute breeze. If your TAM is unbounded, then a tedious market segmentation won’t bog you down.

So, if you want your audience to stay engaged and listen, have a short pitch that communicates the essentials, and then let the conversation carry the remainder of the time.

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