3 Effective Questions to Develop a Pitch Your Audience Want to Listen To 

How to Weave a Meaningful Story Into Your Presentation 

 

Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning
Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.

Have there been times in your WorkLife when you’ve had to pitch yourself or your ideas, when there was a lot riding on It?

Maybe it was in an Interview, or presentation, or you had to sell your idea to your team, your board or an investor.

Everything Is Riding On This … We’re Relying On You … people’s stories of when they had to deliver the pitch of their life, when their WorkLives and their future depended on it. When the stakes were high, and there was a lot to win or to lose …

The Future Of The Company Is Hanging On This, You’ve Got Three Minutes To Win Them Over Matt …

Matt, a man of few words at the best of time, was at a total loss of words on hearing this.

But let’s back up a little to Matt’s Story: Everything Is Riding On This … We’re Relying On You Case Study:

Matt works in accounting at an advertising agency. In the last year, he has somehow gone from reluctant speaker to the key speaker at this sales pitch.

Through a process of self-coaching, self-directing and self-leadership he has transformed his presentations from boring snoring to interesting and engaging. This was no mean feat considering his subject matter is numbers, doubled with the fact that Matt had begun from a place where people’s eyes would glaze over, followed by the earliest possible exits as soon as he began his presentation. He has gone from being invisible to suddenly being in the spotlight — or rather about to be under the spotlight!

SAGE WISDOM

Being an accountant Matt is quite a logical thinker. He is also quite wise, and so he turned to his inner sage for wisdom, by asking himself:

3 Effective Questions to Develop a Pitch Your Audience Want to Listen To

What do I need to do in this situation?

Why do I need to do this?

Why is this important to my audience?

The self-feedback that came to him was:

  • I need to create the experience in people’s minds of the experience I’m trying to share;
  • I need them to know why it matters;
  • I need them to know the powerful impact this can have.

BOOK WISDOM

Although Matt is a man of few words, he does have a love of words, and a passion for reading. Books are his go-to place when he needs stimulation for his ideas, his thinking and his challenges. Matt’s search for the book to help him in this situation brought him to: Ted Talks by Chris Anderson.

The guidance he received was:

  • When tackling tough topics, the structure of these is typically to lay out a series of facts that illustrate how awful a situation is and why something must be done to fix it — that can be emotionally exhausting —a  route around that — the  first step is to think of your talk not as being about an issue, but about an idea;
  • An issue-based talk leads with morality, an idea-based talk leads with curiosity;
  • An issue exposes a problem, an idea proposes a solution;
  • An issue says isn’t this terrible, an idea says isn’t this interesting;
  • it’s much easier to pull in an audience by framing the talk as an attempt to solve an intriguing idea, rather than as a plea for them to care. The first feels like a gift is being offered the second feels like an ask.

This was the guidance Matt needed to weave a meaningful story into his presentation, which he set about writing.

This is Matt’s Pitch:

“There’s an old myth about Picasso sitting at a café in Paris when a woman recognised him and asked him if he would draw up a quick piece on a napkin for her. Humouring her, he agreed.

“That would be $1 million,” he told her, once he was done. Confused and taken aback, she pointed out that it had taken him only 30 seconds to draw. He responded: “No, my dear woman, you are mistaken. It took me 30 years to draw that in 30 seconds.”

Imagine, if you will, hanging out in a café where the world’s most accomplished people converge, influential artists, thought leaders, experts in their fields. I’d like you to picture it in your mind, as you sit over coffee observing, watching the masters at work. As they converse, you capture their wisdom, through the knowledge they’re sharing, the stories they’re telling of their work-life experiences, the skills they’re teaching — learnt through years of blood, sweat, and maybe even tears. You watch 30-second demonstrations of work that has taken 30 years to master.

Now imagine, if you will, a gift. I’d like you to picture it in your mind, it’s quite abstract. So, envision what it looks like all wrapped up. But before I show you what’s inside, I will tell you, it’s the gift that has the power to do incredible things for everyone who opens it. It’s the gift that has the power to challenge, inspire and motivate. It’s the gift that has the power to bring new meaning to life, and to change lives.

You see, this is the gift of knowledge, the gift of the most brilliant of minds coming together.

Why? Because these brilliant people believe in the power of the gift of knowledge. They believe in the power of knowledge sharing. They believe in the potential of this gift, the potential to reach millions of people throughout the cafés of the world.

By now I know you’re dying to know where these cafés are, and is there a waiting list to get in? And how much does it cost people to drink coffee at such elite establishments?

The Answer:

These cafés are wherever people want them to be:

Their own homes, their workplaces, their local cafés, or a café in Paris, indeed a café from wherever they are in the world.

You see, the power of technology is bringing these brilliant people together to a café in cyberspace. A café where people can go, at any time, when they want to hang out in a place where the world’s most accomplished people converge.

And is there a waiting list?

No, there’s no waiting list, instead, there’s a membership that allows people access to this elite establishment.

And the cost to people?

£15 monthly membership — much less than the cost of a coffee a day.

How much will it cost you?

The seed-capital investment we need to bring this cafe to millions of people is £250,000.

And that’s an incredible deal. Why? Because this is the gift that keeps on giving.

What do you get in return?

20% share in this venture, together with the sense of accomplishment that comes from enabling the greatest gift that exists, to be shared. The gift of knowledge.

Thank you.”

EPILOGUE

Matt’s pitch was good enough to pique people’s interest. There were questions, which he and the rest of his team answered. Offers were made, which led to discussions and negotiations, which resulted in the partnership the company needed being formed, to ultimately bring their idea to life, and to the lives of people in cafes throughout the world.

WORDS OF WISDOM

When presenting an idea, flesh out each point with real examples, stories and facts. This is how ideas that you cherish can be built in someone else’s mind.

This story has been adapted from The School of WorkLife book How To Self-Coach, Direct and Lead Effectively. I developed it further into The Case of Everything is Riding on This … You’ve Only Got Minutes to Win Them Over … for The Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies. 

Today’s Featured Book is: Ted Talks by Chris Anderson.

WorkLife Book Wisdom Stories:

The intention of the stories I share is to inspire you through people’s stories of their worklife experiences. Through these stories, you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles, failures and successes they encountered along the road of their worklife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their worklife with passion, purpose and pride.

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your worklife Story.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

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POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 26/4/21. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you 

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

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School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

How To Use Your Purpose To Help Others

How To Drive Your Vision and Motivated Abilities 

How To Turn Your Story Into a Powerful Presentation 

Tap The School of WorkLife Book Series to view the complete collection of books. From here, you can tap on each individual title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

Founder of School of WorkLife Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of www.schoolofworklife.com My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.