4 Steps to a Successful Pitch Presentation

I recently received a slide deck from a prospective client who wishes to have more success when pitching for business and was seeking my help.

On reviewing their deck, I made the following observations.

Like the majority of decks I receive, it started by telling all about themselves and then preceded to tell all about what they do, before petering out while providing little by way of insights into how they benefit their prospective client.

Step 1:

My first action always is to print out the slides (6 to a page to save paper and ink) I then cut the pages and lay the slides out on my office floor in the order as received.

Step 2:

I then proceed to rearrange the slides into the order that reflects the talk template that I would wish the presentation to follow.

Start with the problem you solve for your prospective client!

This allows you to engage the audience in a discussion about the problem(s) you believe they have and get their agreement.

Now you can introduce yourself and your organisation briefly. Remember you would not have been selected to pitch if you did not fulfil the client’s criteria (and they probably do not need to know you have an office in Timbuktu).

Step 3:

Next, tell the client, using stories, analogies, statistics and examples, what you can do for them. Remember – data overload is to be avoided here at all costs; your job is not to beat the client into submission by telling them everything you do, but rather excite them with the specific information that they need to know and that ideally differentiate you from your competitors.

Step 4:

Finally finish with a restatement of how working with your organisation will solve their problem(s) and significantly benefit them.


Now back to my Prospects Presentation Deck:

In this case, having rearranged the slides I found only one slide which touched on the prospects problem(s) out of the total of 17 slides!

Three slides were all about their organisation.

And the balance was all about what they do!

The final slides said Thank You, completely missing out on the opportunity to drive home the message about how you benefit the prospective client.


My prospective client was very happy with how I rearranged their slide deck, and I believe with some coaching of the pitch team and the addition of a couple of slides, they will be likely to win more business in the future.


If you are tired not winning enough pitches perhaps you should review your slide deck and see which format you are using.

Is it all about you or

all about how you help clients to prosper?


If it’s the former, why not get in touch and learn how my clients have dramatically improved their success rate when pitching for business.

You may be interested in my next masterclass – click below for details and tickets:

Overcome Your Reluctance to Speak in Public – and Watch Your Career Grow

Tuesday 13th March 2018 – 9.30 a.m. to 12 noon –
NCI, Mayor Square, IFSC, Dublin 1 

Early bird ticket of €80 finishes at midnight on Wednesday 28th February.

Pitch like a Big Time Movie Producer/Director!

A High Concept Pitch to a movie mogul (If such a person still exists?) is where you are given one sentence to pitch your idea.

Let me give you some examples:

Chicken Run  It’s “The Great Escape” with chickens

Alien  It’s “Jaws” on a spaceship

Speed  It’s “Die Hard” on a bus

What you are hoping to do is connect your idea to a previously successful movie.

I was recently reminded of this expression when listening to a radio interview with Nick Park – Director, Writer, Animator, best known as the creator of Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep and winner of four Oscars.

He was the one who successfully delivered the High Concept Pitch CHICKEN RUN – It’s “The Great Escape” with Chickens! to Stephen Spielberg and the DreamWorks team.

I am not saying that they gave him money and support as a result of the sentence “Chicken Run – it’s “The Great Escape” with Chickens”. However, he did get their attention and interest, and was given permission to continue the conversation and elaborate on his idea for the movie.

Nick then went on to explain how the different characters in “The Great Escape”, e.g. British, American and German soldiers, would be replicated by chickens in his movie ‘Chicken Run’ (Mel Gibson voicing the role of Steve McQueen in the original film).

Using a previously successful film as a reference for his movie is recognized as the way of getting an idea across with the minimum of explanation.

The challenge for all presenters, and in particular those pitching to win sales or investment, is for the audience to understand very quickly how you can solve a problem or provide an opportunity for them.

Presenters need to get attention immediately (20 seconds), and this is why I advise my clients to start with a Headline or Visual that switches the audience away from whatever they were thinking about and start paying attention to them.

They will do this when the headline says:

“You can benefit by paying attention to me for the next few minutes!”


(Read my previous articles to get more suggestions on how to get attention in 20 seconds.)

Click below to find information on my upcoming Masterclass :
Tuesday 13 March2018 – 9.30 am to 12 noon – NCI, Mayor Square, IFSC, Dublin 1


(Overcome Your Reluctance to Speak in Public – and Watch Your Career Grow!)

Call to Action:

Inspiration comes when you are rested and open to change,

not when you are tired and sitting in front of a screen.

Start thinking creatively, find inspiration and be open to change; it’s all around you!

To do this you need to get out into the world and find yourself spaces where you can be creative.

I use Libraries, Art Galleries, StartHubs, secluded corners in old pubs, sitting in the car beside the sea, walking in the hills.

All of the above should be done with a pencil and notebook to hand, ensuring you capture your inspirational ideas.

Have you got the Gift of the Gab?





It’s the end of another year and time to take it easy for a few days over the holidays.

The Christmas holiday period can often be a time to reconnect with people you have not been in touch with for some time. Yet, we hesitate; how do you restart the conversation?

Please have a look at my TEDx talk entitled ‘The Gift of the Gab’ and get some tips on starting a conversation.

This talk will tell you the number one demotivating factor in business and personal life, also how to become a great motivator, along with many other communication tips.

You can also entertain friends and family with a humorous story you will hear during this talk!


Please put this date in your diary – 25 January 2018.  I am hosting a morning workshop in  National College of Ireland Dublin entitled:

‘Why are you nervous speaking in front of some audiences’?

If you would like more details or to reserve a place please contact me


THE END … Do you hear “WOW!” or “Let’s get out of here?”









“A speech is like a love affair. Any fool can start it, but to end it requires considerable skill.”  Lord Mancroft

When working with clients to prepare them for important presentations, I have noticed over the years that they always start at the beginning, and proceed to fill the body of the talk with everything they know or feel that they must tell their audience, in order to engage them.

On movie websites you see similar ambition:

Thor: Ragnarok

Action/Adventure/Comedy/Fantasy /Science Fiction

Justice League

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Science Fiction

The Snowman


Big Hero 6

Adventure/Family/Animation/ Action/Comedy


I would much prefer a simpler message:






How many times have you gone to the cinema and sat through 90+ minutes only to be disappointed at the end?

Speakers attempt to do the same; create a presentation that will address all issues and all audiences in one fell swoop. If only life was so simple, and audiences were so receptive to multiple messages that are not particularly focused on their needs.


When working with my clients to prepare them for an important presentation/pitch, where I want them to start is not where they expect to start.

The questions I want them to answer first are:

  1. Who is your audience, and, in particular, who in that audience do you want to hear your message?
  2. The next thing we must focus on is how to end the talk. How will the audience members be better as a result of listening to you and taking your advice?

This presents an immediate problem as most people start preparing their presentations in one of the following ways;

They dig out a previous presentation and start tweaking.

Next, they exhaust themselves filling the body of the talk, then run out of energy and enthusiasm long before giving any thought to how the presentation should end.

I believe all talks must hold the attention of your listeners and point to a solution that will be beneficial to them.

One of  Stephen Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people is:


Great movies, great books, and great talks are a success because of the Director, Writer, Speaker knowing exactly how the film, book or talk is going to end, long before a camera rolls, a word is typed or slide created.

I believe all presentations must start with excitement and end in knowledge.


When your audience sees a clear benefit to them in what you suggest, your next step is a ‘call to action’ which now is much more likely to receive a favourable response.

A video conversation on how to be a great speaker

Aristo, from a Greek name, means “to be the best”.

Here is Andrew Keogh of Aristo talking to Don Harris of Talkback about how Aristo helps people to be the best in communicating, presenting and telling their business story.

Are you nervous of presenting? Perhaps you feel you could do better?

Watch this 8 minute video to pick up some great tips and to learn more about how Aristo can help you.

Connect to Grow Programme – 29th November & 6th December 2017

 Executive Communication Skills

This  2 day programme (one week apart)  is designed for delegates who have the business competence and now recognise the need to speak more effectively.

Our programme ‘CONNECT 2 GROW’ will enable you to make talks easier to understand and to deliver, leading to better communication and comprehension on the part of your audience.

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