Pitching virtually and in-person

Crafting a Compelling Pitch Under Time Constraints

Leo Manzione

Good news! You’re in front of your ideal potential customer with the opportunity to pitch yourself and your solutions!

…But what do you do now? Are you ready for this? How can you get the most out of this great opportunity, especially if you don’t know how long you have?

Not quite sure? Well lucky for you, you’re in the right place! Welcome to part two of our Pitching Yourself series. (If you haven’t already, you can check out part 1 

Today is all about how to pitch yourself and your business under time constraints. Check out the video below for help crafting an effective pitch, whether you have 30 seconds, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or even a whole hour:

Replace the fluff with support.

Do you have points in your 60 minute presentation that aren’t included in your 30 seconds? If so, the most important question to ask is WHY?

  • Perhaps this is a key point that’s missing from your 30 second pitch. If so, work to incorporate it.
  • Most likely, however, this additional point is fluff. Fluff is the enemy of a concise and effective pitch.

Now an hour may seem like a long time to you. If someone gives you 60 minutes for a pitch or presentation, you may be wondering how you can fill that time without fluff.
Here’s the secret – replace the fluff with support.

The key to making any effective pitch is to know your main points. These points should not change if you have more time! Rather, any additional time you have should be used to support the main points.

The best way to refine your message is to perform a series of calisthenics, honing your 30 second pitch before moving up to your 5 minute pitch, then 15 minutes, and finally 60 minutes. Once you’ve hit 60 minutes, you’ll then want to work your way back down to 30 seconds:

30 seconds to 60 min infographic

30 Seconds – Your Elevator Pitch

Your 30 second pitch is your core content. The most important thing you can do during this limited time is answer the biggest questions your audience has:

  • Who are you?
  • How can you help them?
  • What are you trying to convey?
  • What do you need them to know about this opportunity?
  • What is the call to action?

You should be able to concisely and clearly answer these questions.
If you find yourself rambling, you don’t know the answers as well as you should.

This 30 second time frame is primarily focused on making statements and then supporting them as much as you can given the limited time.

Arguably one of the most important questions is the last one – the call to action. Some people feel awkward at this stage, but what’s the point of delivering a compelling pitch if there’s nothing that comes of it? Your call to action needs to be as clear and simple as possible so interested parties can proceed to the next step.

Keep in mind that with a 30 second pitch, your main focus will most likely be laying the groundwork for a longer conversation later.

More Time = More Support

Longer time frames are used to support the key statements from your 30 second pitch. You’ll expand on them further, adding in the why and the how. What stories can you add that add color and drive your key points home?

Part of this support is also knowing people’s potential objections and getting to them first. Doing so builds credibility, strengthens your pitch, and can help your audience feel understood – almost as if you’re taking the words and questions straight out of their mouths.

So ask yourself this: “What questions do you hope your audience won’t ask?” Answer those and reap the rewards.

Drill Back Down to 30 Seconds

Once you’ve streamlined your longer pitches and they’re clean, sharp, and prepared, REVERSE IT. Go back down from 60 minutes, to 15 minutes, to 5 minutes, all the way to the 30 second mark.

The real power of this revisit is to look closely at your longer pitches and find any nuggets you can use to bolster your shorter ones:

  • What did you discover?
  • What were your most compelling pieces of evidence?
  • What were the most punchy stories/bits that made your 60 minute presentation sing?

By the end of this process, you’ll come out prepared to wow your target audience no matter how many seconds or minutes allotted.

Want to learn more about crafting a great pitch and making an impact with the time you have? Feel free to apply for one of my complimentary diagnostic sessions and we can review these concepts and uncover anything else that might be holding your business back.


Talk soon,

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