Moses: The Lord, the Lord Jehovah has given unto you these fifteen…
[drops one of the tablets]
Moses: Oy! Ten! Ten commandments for all to obey! From the movie History of the World
It seems popular to use lists to convey ideas and 10, for some reason, is the most common number for list content. I was looking for a more creative way to introduce my list of 10 items to consider for that “perfect pitch” and could think of no better alternative than this scene from my favorite Mel Brook’s film. Not original, but I think it works.
I apologize in advance for all the sports analogies, but for those that follow baseball, you often hear an analyst comment on a pitcher’s mechanics. A knowledgeable observer can pick out improper arm motion and other factors in suggesting why a pitcher is effective or not. Just like a pitcher, I believe there are rules or mechanics to follow which will improve your pitch (and the related results.) This blog is not about the components of the pitch (you can refer to Withum.com\startup to learn more about that) but about the presentation process. Again, no scientific data here – just observations from seeing hundreds of pitches over the last 30+ years. So, here it goes:
- Confirm logistics such as number of people attending, time allotted to you and any other relevant data. Have a back-up plan for technology required for your presentation. Think of it as grooming the mound before you get started with your delivery.
- Do your homework on your audience. What good pitcher doesn’t study opposing hitters and pitch accordingly?
- Limit your presentation to one presenter; the one who has the best understanding and is the clearest communicator. A multi-presenter show which looks like Run-D.M.C. on steroids is not going to cut it.
- Good energy and passion are helpful but don’t come across as if you just had a batch of 5-Hour Energy drinks. Moderation in all things.
- Stay on point; keep within time allotted and don’t get distracted. Good pitchers never allow base runners to make them lose focus on the batter.
- Practice until you feel you are as comfortable as that pitcher who never seems to get rattled regardless of the situation. They may not be expecting a major league performance, but, act like you are in Little League and you may not get a second chance.
- Spend some time explaining how you will overcome the toughest challenges. Like a pitcher facing a good batter, you may have to work around the corners of the plate.
- Keep in mind, you are not trying to seal the deal with this presentation. Your objective should be to generate some interest; think more like the setup man than Mariano Rivera.
- Leave time for questions and try not to be defensive when responding to them. You should talk 60% of the time and be listening 40%.
- Plan for the wrap up – have concluding comments and make sure you cover next steps.
Keep in mind, there is a reason that pitchers report to spring training early and get rest in between starts; it is a tough job. Stay focused on your mechanics and you will do just fine. Good luck.