Simplify. Say Less. Get More. The key to effective pitch or presentation is to separate what you ‘want’ to say from just what ‘needs’ to be said. The 3-minute rule explains how to do just that.

“Simplicity is power.

Clarity is compelling.

Information is value.”

 

The 2 Misconceptions of 3-Minute Presentation

Misconception #1 Presentation needs flair

Remember the key is to say what needs to be said with clarity. If you learn how to do so, you will not only succeed in presentation, you will succeed in life.

“Success in life and business is dictated by your ability to convey your information to others so they understand it the way you do.”

Misconception #2 My business is too complicated

No business is too complicated to explain in three minutes. Take Shark Tank for example. From the time the show introduces an entrepreneur to the time one of the Shark makes a decision is almost always three minutes.

 

3-Minute CCA – Conceptualize, Contextualize, Actualize

0:00 – 1:30 – Conceptualize: Explain what it is and how it works.

1:30 – 2:30 – Contextualize: Engage and verify details.

2:30 – 3:00 – Actualize: Encourage the buy in or opt out.

Think of how you can compress everything you need to say into ‘only’ what needs to be said, within these three golden minutes.

 

Story trumps Style. Always.

An amateur director shoots and edits a scene like this:

Gary on the phone gets an angry look on his face.

Close up on the phone as he hangs up.

Gary storms to the kitchen.

He snatches car keys from counter

He gets in car. Backs up, squeals tires, grips steering wheels tightly, pulls into the driveway, slams the door behind him, storms up on the front porch, pounds on the door, Angela opens the door..

And finally with a surprised look, Angela says “Gary, you shouldn’t be here!”

A great director shoots the same scene but edits in a way like this:

Gary on phone gets an angry look on his face

He snatches car keys from counter

Angela opens door

With a surprised look, Angela says “Gary, you shouldn’t be here!”

Before crafting any pitch or presentation, ask yourself 2 questions first.

  1. What knowledge does my audience already possess?
  2. How will they rationalize their decision?

 

WHAC your way to effective presentation.

  1. What is it? – explain fundamentals
  2. How does it work – explain how it functions
  3. Are you sure? – back up with facts and figures
  4. Can you do it? – explain expertise and experience that qualifies you to make it real?

 

The FIRE ALARM Test

Picture yourself in the middle of a presentation. Three minutes into your pitch, just as you’re ending, the fire alarm goes off. The room evacuates and everyone is ushered out into the street.

Now ask yourself three questions:

  1. Would the audience want to come back in and hear more?
  2. If you didn’t get to go back in, would they have enough information to make a decision, or is there something you still needed to say?
  3. If they were to explain your pitch or proposal to someone else, what would they say?

 

Persuasion without persuasion – the power of facts and figures

Brant put a big picture of Katy Perry up on his presentation and said, “I’d like to introduce you to one of my friends, Katy Perry. I know you know her and her music. Kay Perry is the most successful female performer in history.” The crowd reacted in silence after which a big burst of objection came from a corner “whattttt!” One of the audience members said “Boy, you must be outta your goddamn mind!” 

Brant smiled and put up the picture of Katy Perry again. He repeated the sentence but this time he added a short story of her career in bullet points: “I’d like to introduce you to one of my friends, Katy Perry. I know you know her and her music, but there was a lot about her career I didn’t realize till I spent some time with her…””

  • First female to have five number one hits on one album
  • Which is a record that’s second only to Michael Jackson’s
  • First artist to have multiple billion-view videos
  • Eight Guinness World Records
  • Record for most streamed single
  • Record for sixty-nine consecutive weeks at number one
  • Record for eighteen consecutive number one hits (no one’s even close)
  • One of the top-selling female artists, over 100 million records
  • Highest-grossing female artist six times

 

Brand wasn’t simply stating and proving. He was informing and leading the audience.

 

WHAC Applied in Fundraising Pitch

KUrt had come up with the idea for Freebird while asking for dinner suggestions from a waitress at the golf course. WHen she suggested three places in town, Kurt asked “Which one’s your favorite?” The waitress replied, “I like Jester’s because they pay for my Uber.” That was the spark. That’s what Kurt had developed. A ride service amenity for restaurants and bars.

What is it?

App that lets bars and restaurants pay for customers’ Uber and Lyft rides. Bar and restaurant owners offer free rides to customers willing to come to their bar for the night. Customers open the app and see who’s offering to pay for their ride. THey select the spot, and if they spend money in that bar or restaurant, their ride is free. The bars and restaurants aren’t paying for marketing to potential customers. They’re spending money on actual paying customers.

How does it work?

WHile the service is seamless for the customer, they must spend the money in that bar to get the free ride. The Freebird app connects directly to the customer’s Uber app, so the customer hails and pays for their Uber as they normally would. But with Freebird, the cost of the ride is tracked, and when the customer spends money at the bar or restaurant, the cost of their ride is credited back to them seamlessly. Because of this, the bar or restaurant can set a budget they want to spend on free rides, and knows that each new customer is guaranteed to spend that money in their bar or restaurant. Customers get free rides, and bars and restaurants get new paying customers. Freebird takes a commission.

Are you sure?

The app lets bars and restaurants control when and how much they spend on attracting customers by the number of free rides they offer. On days the bar or restaurant is normally busy, they may decide to offer little or no incentive. On days they’re slow, they can turn up their budget and drive new customers (pun intended). Research shows customers who use a ride service like Uber spend 20 percent more on their bar and restaurant tabs than those who drive. By offering an incentive to raise ride service, the bars and restaurants will attract high-spending customers.

The negative

Freebird is not in the free ride business. It is in the ride reimbursement business.

The hook

Freebird helps find your customer, picks them up, brings them to your location, and then ensures they spend money in your establishment to receive the free ride.

Can you do it?

Uber and Lyft both opened their API to allow third-party apps to use their platform directly. Freebird is connected directly to the customer’s Uber or Lyft account so we can track their rides and correlate them to their credit card purchases. It’s seamless for the customer to use, but allows the bar or restaurant to guarantee they only pay for rides for customers who spend money in their establishment. 

 

But… what about the ending?

You don’t need one. If you’ve laid out your presentation in this way, the ending doesn’t make any difference. Simply say “OK, now that you know what it is and how and why it works, I’ll answer any questions you might have and share some other details you might be interested in.”

 

3-Minute Slides

If you’re using PowerPoint, use it to your advantage. Use it to highlight the most valuable points and drive them home. PowerPoint is your wingman for this purpose. Here’s the outline structure you can work with:

  • Opening = 1 slide (backstory)
  • What is it ? = 2 slides (your log line and some bullet points)
  • How does it work? = 2 slides (some clear bullet points)
  • Are you sure? = 1 slide (just some simple facts and figures)
  • Negative = 1 slide (optional, if you have a good negative, bring it up)
  • The hook = 1 slide 
  • The edge = 1 slide (have a picture that illustrates push-it-over-the-edge moment)
  • The callback = 0 slides (there’s no need for see-I-told-you moment on a slide)
  • Can you do it? = 1 slide (optional, you don’t really need one if its obvious or your audience know you can)

 

One last thing… Show your draft to people.

It can be frustrating to ask people what they think because if you ask six different people, you’ll get eight different answers. People love to throw their opinions around. The haters are often most helpful. Let them punch holes in it so you can see where it’s weakest.


Kyaw Wai Yan Tun

Hi, I'm Wai Yan. I love designing visuals and writing insightful articles online. I see it as my way of making the world a more beautiful and insightful place.