Don’t be pitchy. Tips for good presentations.

You are sitting in a room full of your peers, listening to a speaker present. They are funny and engaging and you are really enjoying the whole thing. And then, like a chill draft blowing through the room, the whole energy changes. The presenter is staring straight ahead, the smile is forced, they start rattling off numbers and you are told that the first 10 of you to sign up can bring a guest for free! Yes, they have launched The Pitch.

We are told that we need to pitch at the end of the presentation. It’s when you make your ‘ask’; for more clients, more sales, students for your next workshop, whatever. There are a ton of courses out there that are supposed to train you how to pitch effectively. But here’s what gets me — everyone is using these techniques now. The whole thing where the presenter writes some ludicrous number on a whiteboard, saying that her coaching sessions are normally $10,000 (or whatever number), then telling you there is a reduced price and then offering some number a small fraction of the original to the first group of people to sign up tonight. Yes, I know that, due to cognitive bias we tend to accept the first number we are shown as the true one and compare all the other numbers to it. But because we have all seen this particular trick so many times before, I’m not going to be impressed that you have reduced your price from $10,000 to $1500 if I sign up right now; personally I am much more likely to be vaguely annoyed that it took you 10 minutes to tell me that your rate is $1500.

So here’s the thing; unless you have some new technique that involves physical and mental gymnastics the likes of which we have never seen before, it is unlikely that many people are going to be sucked in to your pitch. If you want to try something revolutionary, why not simply leave the pitch out entirely?

I’m a big believer in the ‘soft sell’. If you’ve been speaking to a group of people for 30-40 minutes, they have a pretty good idea already of who you are, what you do and whether or not they want to do business with you. Do you really need to spend 5-10 minutes, the last bit of time you have with your audience, potentially alienating them? There is nothing wrong with an ‘ask’ — after all, that’s why you are there, but remember that the same rules that apply to good presentations apply here as well.

  • Keep it relevant. Remember who you are speaking to and what their particular needs are. Are these business people looking for stress management? Massage therapists looking for continuing education credits? Concerned parents with children struggling in school? What do you have to offer each of these groups?
  • Keep it short. Enough said.
  • Be genuine. Don’t turn into a smarmy salesperson, keep the same tone and integrity that you have displayed throughout your talk.

Sorry for the rant, but these are things we can all improve on to be more effective in getting the word out about Specialized Kinesiology and what it can do.

Do you have any tips for great presentations? Any pet peeves about ‘pitching’? Share them here.

We’re all in this together!


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One thought on “Don’t be pitchy. Tips for good presentations.

  1. As someone who first got into sales when I was only fifteen years old, has listened to and judged many public speakers, I must say, Alexis Costello is still my favorite to listen to. For the past six years I’ve been paid to train presenters, make the quiet and timid ones more vocal, while making the car-salesmen less smarmy. I find myself often using Alexis as an example of someone who really shows respect to their audience, both in person and in print. Thank you for being an inspiration.

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