» What Chess Club Should Teach You About Pitching #

Paul R. Brown @ 2009-02-02

Cross-posted on nPost.

The fundamental goal of selling is to clearly communicate to your audience, and this applies equally to pitching a company to investors or pitching a product to potential customers. It's obvious that confusing the audience conflicts with that fundamental goal, but it can be surprisingly difficult to avoid.

Your goal should be to provide your audience with exactly the information they need to make a decision, no more and no less. It's easy enough to fix providing too little information — just provide more. Providing too much information, probably confusing your audience in the process, is much more difficult to cure, and this is where a lesson from chess club comes in.

Chess Clock by Keeping the feedback loop tight is the best way to throttle the flow of information, and using a chess clock — imagined or actual — is one way to do that. When you start talking, think about tapping the clock to start your turn, or if you're on the phone or otherwise not in front of the customer, feel free to use a stopwatch or countdown timer. Twenty to thirty seconds is a reasonable benchmark, and if you've got other people in on the pitch with you, it's up to you to set the ground rules for them to ensure that everyone's bound by the clock. It's enough time to communicate an idea but not so much time that your audience starts reaching for their Blackberries while you ramble.


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