[On] Point to Ponder: When Should Coaching Start?

This week I got a call to help someone with an investor pitch, but it was too late. They were pitching in 48 hours… the deck was final – they’d had to send it to the organizers already. Our schedules didn’t align quite enough. And we hadn’t discussed a general budget nevermind drafted any agreements.

Not Enough Time
I was bummed. I wanted to help them “Nail It!” And they wanted – likely needed – a “spit shine” so they could pitch with no regrets. So they could say, “We prepared the best we could.” But there just wasn’t time.

Not all was lost. I sent this video, 2 others, and 10 quick tips via e-mail; 5 about Nailing the pitch, 5 about not failing the Q/A portion. At least it was something.

If you’re considering coaching – for a presentation, investor pitch deck, keynote, TED talk –
call 3-4 weeks ahead of your talk date.

This video is one of my go-tos to anyone who’s about to present but has no time or budget for coaching. Why? It focuses on your first words and actions on stage, and that sets the stage. Literally.

 

Barely Enough Time
I was a bit under the gun on another occasion when a client called for help. We had 7 days, and although it wasn’t “no time” it was tight. The basic pitch deck structure was there, but we had our work cut out for us – I brought in a subcontractor to spruce up the slide design and really make it ‘sing’ (which made a huge difference). We got ‘er done, and he advanced to the finals!

*In short, consider these questions when you’re deciding on coaching: “Do I need help with… ”

  1. Slide deck content, storytelling, slide design?
  2. Rehearsal and delivery?
  3. Both 1 and 2 above and if so, what percentage? 50/50, 60/40, 80/20?
  4. Are there due dates imposed by another entity like a pitch competition or TED organization? What format should the deck be sent in? Who provides what for A/V at the site? Tell your coach.
  5. Which slides are smooth, which are bumpy?
  6. What is my budget?

With investor pitches, it’s often the case of “spending a couple thousand to get a couple million.” Coaching may not feel like a ‘need’; yet high quality, professional coaching will serve you beyond the next talk and into the dozens that follow.

Time and time again I have seen the difference it can make. And after all, you never have a second chance to make a first impression.

Cindy provides award-winning public speaking coaching and brand consulting to entrepreneurs and small businesses who seek to master their message on stage, online and in publications. Her passion for crafting, analyzing and presenting messages developed through over 25 years in the corporate, academic and entrepreneurial worlds. Cindy coaches clients on pitch decks, TED talks, storytelling, presentation presence, brand messaging, PR strategy and more. Contact Cindy at info@onpoint-communications.com or call 970-290-4684.


Back To Blog

Testimonials

When you meet Cindy, you can’t help but feel engaged and pay attention. She clearly is an outstanding communications professional. The way she took the stage, conveyed her message and shared her approach to storytelling at the recent conference was mesmerizing.

Cindy made me rethink my approach to storytelling that I had used in my client work for many years. Cindy’s workshop alone made my trip to Denver worthwhile.

Ruth Winden, Executive Coach (UK)

Cindy was selected to present at the Career Thought Leader Conference in Denver. I attended her session and was impressed with her presentation and content marketing expertise. I have been a trainer for over 20 years and her presentation added specific impactful strategies that I will include in my next training. Cindy has a natural engaging style that is persuasive and professional. I would highly recommend working with her if you are looking to increase your business presentations.

Beth Kennedy, Executive Coach

“Cindy was truly instrumental in getting a compelling, professional pitch deck put together. Without her structure and guidance on how to tell a compelling story, I know we wouldn’t have had nearly the success and traction that we have. I look forward to continuing to work with Cindy and making our pitch evolve alongside our business.”

Jennifer Henderson| CEO at Career Allies

When speaking at the CTL conference this spring, I had the privilege to sit in on Cindy’s Storytelling talk. Cindy has an impressive background, and a wonderful approach to helping you present more effectively. Telling a compelling story is crucial for effective presentations that connect with your audience, and Cindy can equip you to prepare and present in a structured, but seemingly unrehearsed way.

Kristin Sherry, Author|Speaker|Coach

“As a professional speaker, I know the value of getting feedback before giving an important speech. As I prepared my TEDx talk, Cindy was the perfect person to give me outside perspective. She did a beautiful job taking the many ideas I had floating around in my head and helping me select what to use, how to organize them, and how to tie it all together.

I love the way she coached, not trying to make her words my own, but instead, considering what I was trying to achieve and helping me stay true to my voice. If you have to stand and deliver a great talk, working with Cindy can help you ensure you’re at your best!”

Tanis Roeder, Elevate Your Communication