22. Prune


Half as much at half the speed.

WATCH THE BEST TED talks and the Steve Jobs keynotes, and you’ll find one common trait. The speaker is taking his/her time, speaking at a casual pace and pausing quite often between ideas.

Too many presenters fall into the trap of including far too much content in the pitch. The best presentations tend to have fewer facts, fewer words, fewer slides. They have simpler slides, simpler stories, etc.

RULE  43:
Less is more.  Fewer facts.  Fewer words.  Better presentation.

As painful as it may be, when you think your pitch is ready, try cutting out one third of the content. Shorten what you say for each slide. Cut out the text on the slides. Edit. Prune. Repeat.

Dozens of times, I have listened to pitches only to feel like I was being sprayed with a fire hose. The presenter spoke continuously, quickly, for five or ten or fifteen minutes straight, without seeming to ever take a breadth. The audience tends to come away from such presentations stunned rather than awed or impressed. Occasionally, I have seen those entrepreneurs take my advice, throw away half of the material, and, with the same story, be twice as memorable and twice as impactful in half the time.

Remember, the goal of your first pitch is to get to a follow-up meeting. Save most the detail for that meeting.


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