The Art of the Delightful Pitch

The Art of the Delightful Pitch

(Photo: Jackson Carson)

My favorite class growing up was ART. You started off every lesson with a clear white sheet of cardboard. On the left of you are 20 different colored oil pastels. In your head is your imagination and in your hands is the ability to give it your best shot.

Every day at art class was a new day. Pitching is no different. It’s like art class. I’m going to use a very far-fetched idea but hopefully you’ll get the points that are important.


Start off with a completely clear presentation board. Don’t use a 3 month old presentation for a brand new client or prospect.

Create the atmosphere. Some people have the opinion that in order to do a good pitch you must be so serious right from the get go. Don’t open the laptop as soon as you sit down, but rather admire the stylistic taste of the office of the person you’re pitching too. People like it when you notice.

  1. State Your Purpose. Why are you here, but more importantly why are they interested? If you’re there for an investment pitch, be clear and make the first slide all about “the purpose.” The purpose could be “To get information to people quicker then any device on earth.” (This is the example we’ll use).
  2. State The Problem. This canvas is white and it’s boring to look at, but here’s what I want to accomplish by this idea: “People are dying to gain access to information quickly, and spend lots of money and lots of time going to high school, college, and graduate school only to get into huge pools of debt. (Now they’re listening)
  3. What You Can Give. State your solution. “We’ve invented a chip that can be inserted behind your ear with soft data on the chip and because of the frequency of the electronic system the information gets planted in your brain and you can get 4 years of business school in 20 seconds. Make it personal. Ask them if they’d like to learn a new language?
  4. Assure Them That The Timing Is Right. Explain how it all came down to this point. “I was in school for a whole year, tried to listen intently, failed my exams and lost a lot of money.” Today in order to be considered for a job you must have educational credentials.
  5. How Big Is The Market? Who would be interested? This is where you’d capitalize on the realities but also the possibilities. Who wants to see this painting you’re making? Who really wants all of this knowledge that the chip offers? Now you talk about how it’s based on targeted audiences. In Africa where there’s a need for information on agriculture, the demand for agricultural knowledge chips will be huge. 75% of people in Zimbabwe are subsistence farmers that need this sort of knowledge.
  6. Who Else Is Competing For This Market? Know the competition. State who they are and why there is a difference. Be honest.
  7. The Actual Product. What exactly is the product? It is a chip that is made up of silicon and metal that has a transmitter. Anything on the chip gets transmitted to your mind and it becomes part of your knowledge repertoire. There are no side effects; in fact the frequency that the chip resonates at is the same as a cell phone. The transmission is done in 20 seconds and can be reused as many times as you’d like.
  8. The Business Model. This is simple and stated—revenue model, pricing, distribution, people interested RIGHT NOW.
  9. Who’s On Board? The team makes it happen, and your relationship capital is important to display. Why is this the team that can get you to where you all want to go?
  10. Financials. Show the financials and keep it simple. The P&L, the balance sheet, the cash flow and the predicted cash flow and then the current shareholding.
  11. Finally. Offer the deal. Make it clear. Don’t fudge on your numbers and don’t take a walk around the mulberry bush while trying to please everyone. Make it plain and clean, and highlight how much value that you think is in your ART (or knowledge microchip in our far-fetched example).

Remember this. Most people you are pitching to are looking forward to getting home, so that the fun part of their day can begin. Don’t bring a pitch in that makes the account executive and investor leave the real world and dive into his own dream world to avoid having to listen to you anymore. Hold him in your choice of colors and creativity. Make it delightful to listen to and see what you are presenting. Create an experience.

And make them want to make art with you.

I love art class.