5 Reasons You Should Not Write A 73-Page Pitch Book
Super agent Scott Boras created a 73-page binder for his free-agent client, Prince Fielder. As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com writes, “The information within is destined to make any team believe that it’s getting a bargain regardless of how much money it spends.”
Who Reads A 73-Page Pitch Book?
A lot of general managers wanting to sign Mr. Fielder will read this book from cover to cover. So who am I to argue with the success of Mr. Boras who consistently signs mega deals for star athletes like Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Pena? Besides, baseball is a game made for people who love statistics.
Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 Rule For Presenting
Granted, my thoughts about writing a lengthy pitch book might change if I’m ever in a position to receive a $200+MM check. Until that point, I believe in the “be brief and brilliant” philosophy of making a pitch. Guy Kawasaki promotes this concept with his 10/20/30 Rule of Presenting:
Be Brief and Brilliant
Always write your material and prepare your talking points with your audience in mind. For those people who want numbers, then give them facts and figures in the context of a compelling story. However, remember that the Library of Congress sits in Washington DC and it should remain there, not take residence in your pitch.
Here are five reasons why you should objectively filter out the nice-to-know data and keep the need-to-know information:
If you offer all of your research, you will need a lot of time to read through it during the meeting. The tendency with doing research is that you feel compelled to give all of your data because you spent so much time finding it. Resist that urge to print everything you have learned about a given topic.
Consider creating an appendix if you know that the audience wants a deeper dive into the details on their own time.
Each piece of information that you print or say makes the other pieces progressively smaller. Picture a pie chart with one line going through the middle. Then as you offer more information another line will intersect that one, and then more lines cross each other until the slices are too small to see.
The best way to emphasize your points is to avoid creating competition for them with your own research.
When you present your findings engage the audience in a conversation, not a monologue. Give the audience opportunities to take ownership of your ideas. Chances are that most audiences will interrupt you anyway, so you have to prepare yourself for a give and take session. If you’re set on blazing through your research then you won’t focus on the questions and concerns of your audience.
Think of two or three key questions that your audience will challenge you on relating to your main points.
You can create an almost carnival type of atmosphere like a fast-talking magician doing a slight-of-hand trick if you speak quickly in order to cover all of your points. Most likely you will end up confusing the audience or yourself, and potentially contradicting yourself in the process if you’re including too much information.
Write a simple sentence for each key point, and then practice what you will say to elaborate on them.
People can read faster than you can speak. When you flood your visuals with a lot of text, arrows and numbers, you lose your audience’s attention because they want to figure out what the visuals are showing. Keep your visuals simple, not simplistic.
Always respect the education and experience level of your audience while creating charts, graphs, videos and animation that drives your points home.
Good luck with these tips and let me know how they are working for you.