[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: You know what, empathic emotion does sell. I would have been all numbers. I learned a big lesson. Thank you so much.”

2017 Go Code Colorado finalist

You are a wonderful presenter Cindy! I have taken so much from your presentation at the conference. I noticed when you speak, you at times lowered your volume in a way where we still heard you, but it PULLED the audience in, as if you were confiding in us.

Your vocal variety was lovely, (as well as your content, of course!). The advice to gather your stories from your past and weave them into your presentations is spot on.

Julie Roberts, Linked In profile writer|Coach

Cindy, you were immensely helpful in narrowing down the story part of our pitch. With your guidance, we were able to make a very complicated technical problem relatable to a mixed audience. We still can’t believe the first questions was, “it sounds too good to be true.” That is so much better than the feared, “I do understand what your product does.” Thank you for your professional help and support. RVC knew what they were doing bringing you in as a pitch coach.”

Samuel Thomas Elliott|Co-Founder, Tejon Technologies

“Last year, I reached out to Cindy to help me with a sales deck I use frequently. I learned how to personalize my presentation in an authentic and informative way, making it more interesting to deliver and for my audience to observe!  Cindy was professional, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable and her suggestions were spot on.  If you want to enhance your communication skills, gain confidence in speaking, and improve overall delivery, I definitely recommend working with On Point!”

Nicole Steed, Global Account Manager | Helms Briscoe

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)