When I was a team leader in advertising, one of my staff asked me. “What should be the flow of presentation? Should I start with background, objective, followed with recommendations?”

Indeed, a checklist or template would be useful for fleshing out a proposal. However, filling out the different sections does not make it a good proposal.

Here are a few questions to start with:

  1. Understand your audience
  • Who is your audience?
  • What do they want from the upcoming  conversation?
  • What could be their potential concerns on your proposal?
  1. Ascertain your goals
  • What do you want to achieve from this conversation?
  • What do you want your audience to take away from your proposal?
  1. Planning your pitch
  • Defuse their concerns that would make them say “no”
  • Build trust by showing them you understand their challenges
  • What should I share to demonstrate my ability to value-add and help them win? How can I make them say “yes”
  • How can I differentiate myself from my competition?

An effective pitch need not be done with a presentation – in fact, I found this checklist to be useful thinking disciplines to prepare me for any dialogues with stakeholders.

I had delivered successful 5-minute elevator pitches because I make the efforts to think through these questions and distill my ideas into impactful speech.

It’s all about starting with the intent to win the pitch.

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