[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.


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Testimonials

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

“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

“The On Point ‘Investor Pitch as Story’ online course was a great fit because of my heavy travel schedule. It gave me flexibility as a student to learn and connect with Cindy as necessary. The videos and homework helped me to prepare strong, compelling presentations for potential customers (coaches, directors, school districts) and becoming investor ready.”

Justin Fleming | CEO at MyPerforma

“Cindy, Your coaching was fantastic. You are so good at this. I have done a lot of this too, but I am in awe of your approach, the simplicity of your suggestions and your general professionalism. Thank you.”

Susan Strong, Director at SAGE Boulder

Tim Ash, Agent at The Group Real Estate