Let One Person Do the Talking

KITSAP/BUSINESS—Many entrepreneurs believe that investors invest in teams, so they should demonstrate teamwork in their pitches. Using this reasoning line, four or five employees attend the rise, and each has a speaking role.

The logic that everyone should have a speaking role is terrific for a school play. Parents and grandparents see their precious jewels in action, and there are plenty of opportunities for video. Life is good, fair, and equitable. A pitch, however, is not a school play.

In a pitch, the CEO should do 80 percent of the talking. The rest of the team (and there should be no more than two others) can present one or two slides about their specific area of expertise. They can also provide detailed answers if any questions arise. However, if the CEO can’t handle most of the pitch by himself, he should practice until he can, or he should be replaced.

Often team members try to rescue the CEO when the audience pushes back on something he said. For example, suppose someone wants to debate a multiple-tier distribution system for selling products. A team member, with all good intentions, asserts, “I think you’re right. I’ve thought for a long time that we should sell directly to the customer.”


Bad move. This doesn’t show flexible thinking, an open environment, or a broad-based set of expertise. It offers a lack of cohesion. The correct answer is for no one else to say anything and for the CEO to say, “You raise a good point. Can we follow up?”

Get to One Thousand feet and stay there.

Consider three methods to deliver lethal force:

*B-1B LANCER — This is a long-range bomber for intercontinental missions capable of penetrating sophisticated defense systems. It can fly up to thirty thousand feet above the ground. It costs $200 million.

*NAVY SEALS—These people specialize in on-the-ground special operations in enemy territory. They provide unconventional Warfare capabilities and real-time eyes on targets by striking from and returning to the sea.

A 10 warthog: This plane is for close air support of troops. It is simple and rugged. Its sweet spot is flying at a thousand feet, and it costs $13 million.

If pitches were weapons, the majority, unfortunately, would be B-l Lancers or Navy Seals. The B-l pitch is up in the clouds. It features a lot of o hand waving, cool PowerPoint animations, and use of terms such as “strategic,” “partnership,” “alliance,” “first-mover advantage,” and “patented technology.” An MBA with finance or consulting background delivers it.

Get to One Thousand feet and stay there.

Geeks, propeller heads, and engineers deliver the Navy Seal pitch; they explain the technical nuances and use many acronyms that only they understand. It’s clear that they know every bit of their technology—and would love to explain it all.

The B-l pitch is too high because listeners want to learn what the business does and why it will succeed, not learn about mega-trends and megalomaniac ambitions. The Navy Seal pitch is too low because it focuses on bits, bytes, and nits.

The correct analogy for pitching is the A-IO Warthog (a thousand feet). Your pitch shouldn’t be in the clouds or on the ground with a knife in your teeth. Simply provide enough detail to prove you can deliver and enough aerial view to prove you have a plan.

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