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An excerpt from Oren Klaff’s “Pitch Anything” gives us an inside look into how to pitch to an investor, your boss, a client, or whoever you are trying to persuade. Learn the proper and correct way of pitching to succeed.

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Pitching the Big Idea

So far we have worked in the realm of frames and status, which are abstract notions. Now, however, lace up your shoes and tuck in your shirt—it’s time to get in front of someone and deliver a pitch.

And if you’re the front man, the guy who has to take a big idea on the road and pitch it, you need to know exactly how to give a complete presentation in a much shorter time frame than most. But as you’ll see in a moment, short time frames are not a choice. You can’t afford to run longer. The audience’s brain won’t give you more time. And worse, when attention runs dry—after about 20 minutes—the brain starts forgetting things it has already learned. Talk about going in reverse.

As soon as the pitch or presentation begins, one critical thing must happen; the target must feel at ease. In the vast majority of cases, they don’t because they don’t know how long they’re going to be stuck listening to you, and you’re a stranger. Most people just don’t want to sit through an hour-long pitch. To put them at ease, I have a simple solution: It’s called the time-constraint pattern. This is what you say, exactly, to let the target know he isn’t trapped in the typical hour-long-meeting: “Guys, let’s get started. I’ve only got about 20 minutes to give you the big idea, which will leave us some time to talk it over before I have to get out of here.”

Doing it this way puts the target at ease. It shows that you know what you’re doing and that you’re a pro. Anything can be pitched in 20 minutes by a pro. It also shows that you’re busy because you have a strong idea and you can’t hang out too long in a single meeting.

What’s important here is not your mastery over the details but your mastery over attention and time. Instead of trying to achieve what is virtually impossible—holding the target’s attention for longer than 20 minutes—we need to observe the limits of the human attention span.

You’re going to make the pitch in four sections or phases:

  1. Introduce yourself and the big idea: 5 minutes.
  2. Explain the budget and secret sauce: 10 minutes.
  3. Offer the deal: 2 minutes.
  4. Stack frames for a hot cognition: 3 minutes

Taken with permission from McGraw Hill.

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