What do you want to give them?
One of the most basic, and thanks to it, one of the most important questions to ask yourself when preparing a talk or a pitch is: What do I want to give them? What are the ideas, content, and specific ways of tackling specific issues that I want to include? A pitch is a transaction – you are getting the audience’s time. What are you giving them in return? Ask yourself, the earlier the better, what you want to give them.
Remove the ego, make room for the story
If you do not ask yourself this question, you will always be missing something. You need to share some knowledge, share some insight, give the audience some keys to understanding. You want them to be better at something or have a better level of knowledge and consciousness about something after your talk then before. As a speaker, if you are giving a talk or pitch just to stroke your ego, you’re always going to have a problem. When you are thinking about what you are giving to people, you are erasing the part that your ego can have in the talk or speech. Make room for your story, your company, and others. By thinking about the big ideas, you are creating space for the transaction and sharing to take place instead of drawing attention to yourself.
Be the context, not in the spotlight
If you make yourself just a contextual element, you are giving yourself more authenticity. If you are the background, not the subject, your presentation is going to be richer in quality content. Talk about what is really important, what you gathered from this experience, or what you created, instead of who you are and why you are so great. You are you, and you should seek to present yourself in the best light possible, but here are the more important things. Making yourself the background and context for something bigger is much more interesting then just telling people about how great you are.
You have to give to get something back
A good way to think about this transaction is to think of it in terms of content marketing. In content marketing, you are giving away content and knowledge for free, hoping people will find it useful and buy something from you. Companies often make themselves the context or the background for the content and knowledge. It’s pretty much the same for your talk. If you are giving some really valuable content and knowledge, people will get it that it’s not about you, but about them. This product is for them. Not just because you told them so, but because you have shown them why they should care. Shown not why the product is awesome; but why it is awesome for them and why they should care about it, which is completely different.
Put the audience first
When you know your audience, and think about them specifically, it is not difficult to make them happy. I like to think of this in the way a bookshop or a wine shop operates. If you like a specific kind of book, or a specific kind of wine – they will know what to recommend based on what you liked. If you always give the same pitch or talk, you create a generic one-size-fits-all talk, which frankly, doesn’t fit anyone at all. If you are tailoring your talk or pitch by considering who you are talking to, and what they need or expect to get from you – you have the opportunity to create a one of a kind experience for them. Knowing your audience is a key part of this. At some point, you are working with so many factors and settings that you have to keep in mind, that they stop being important at the moment you start putting your audience first.