Sunday 25 September 2016

Delivering the Perfect Pitch

Published 03/03/2016 | 11:59

It’s not just about what you say, but how you say it.

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For this week’s Ready Business podcast, Brian Purcell spoke to Dragon’s Den coach, Catherine Moonan, author of ‘The Pitch Coach, your guide to interviewing, presenting and public speaking’.

Brian Purcell in conservation with Catherine Moonan MD of Communication Matters and author of
Brian Purcell in conservation with Catherine Moonan MD of Communication Matters and author of "The Pitch Coach"

Moonan specialises in helping businesses and start-ups to craft and deliver their business message whether it is to investors, the public or prospective clients.

“People tend to over-think and over-complicate their message,” she explains.  “The starting point is always: who are you pitching to, who is your audience and why should they care about what you have to tell them?

“You need to take the listener step-by-step through your story.  Get clarity around your message and practice the delivery of it then.  That is most important.

“Preparation is the price paid for superiority.  You need to focus on what the audience need to hear.  Give them a wow opening – enage and capturee their attention in the first few sentences.”

Moonan also has some great tips for those who get nervous about public speaking.

“Find the technique that works for you – anything from visualisation to mindful breathing or positive affirmation – whatever works for you.  Remember, the spotlight and focus is actually not about you but the story you’re telling them.”

For the #readybusinessadvice part of the show, Michael in Drogheda was looking for tips for non face-to-face communication.

“Stand up for important phone calls,” advises Moonan.  “Fake the confidence until it comes naturally and do it for two minutes before the difficult phone call or pitch.  Delivery is so much more important on the phone so take your time and don’t forget to smile.”

Peter in Clonmel wanted to know how much or how little information to include in a presentation.

“Start with the story and get the slides to fit the story. Less is more in terms of the amount of slides and text – and don’t forget to use minimum font size 24.  Avoid full sentences, use keywords and don’t read off the slide – concentrate on the audience at all times.  Pictures speak a thousand words as well, so use an image to prompt you throughout.”

In terms of message delivery, it’s about the pitch, varying the pace and tone,  and slowing it down. 

“Use pause and emphasis for impact,” says Moonan.  “ Be mindful of body language too with posture, gesture, eye contact, and facial expressions all playing a key part.”

On next week’s Ready Business show, we ask what it takes to move your business beyond the start-up stage so send in your questions on Twitter to @Brian_Purcell using #readybusinessadvice.

The Ready Business show, in association with Vodafone, is available every Thursday via iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and Independent.ie. Or subscribe to the RSS feed of the Ready Business Podcast using your favourite podcatcher.

You can check out the full Ready Business Podcast series here.

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