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Throughout Venturefest there were some fantastic talks in the Learning Stream but none started quite as well as Ken Norman’s. Ken, trainer at New Tricks Training and part-time comedian, was at the event to talk about tuning the perfect pitch and within minutes he had his audience grinning. “I used to be a banker, but I’m alright now.”

Ken addressed the structure of pitches, visual aids and highlighted the common mistakes made by businesses when pitching to potential investors. We made notes on some of the top tips he gave throughout his (very well tuned) presentation:

  • Business is about people, connections and relationships. Visitors are there to see the speaker in the flesh, not their backs and a lot of text on a screen (or not if there’s a technological blip!) Speakers need to build rapport with the audience. Two way communication is a must!
  • Think about the structure of a pitch like William Tell. Overture: Act 1, Act 2, Act 3. Finale (Reprise). After a musical interlude Ken then went on to describe the importance of the first 90 seconds, the overture. Top tips: make sure your fly is done up, typos are fixed and shoes are tidy!
  • Wii FM – best radio station there is “What’s In It For Me’. Tell the audience what you are offering, what you want to share, what are they going to get from your presentation. No jargon allowed.
  • ‘Death by Powerpoint’. In the wrong hands, it can kill! Words are not good visual aids, don’t put every word on the slide. Double check spelling, getting the client’s name wrong never makes you look good. Always assume the speaker before you has overrun, don’t keep the audience there longer than they thought they’d be. Spend time on making it look good and practice until it’s perfect.

“Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them you told them”

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