In today’s world, how do we present to inspire others? As an executive in front of the boardroom? For industry leaders speaking on stage? When an entrepreneur is pitching to investors? Brilliant minds should speak brilliantly. Yet, the phenomenon we see nowadays is that people speak to communicate their own views, rather than to connect with the audience’s minds. Donald B. Ma, Executive Consultant at Milestone|3, a Hong Kong born consulting firm that specializes in winning pitch presentations, shares his secrets on how he has coached CXO’s, Entrepreneurs and Industry Leaders to pitch with impact.
How can we make pitch presentations stand out?
Throughout our lives, we will see countless presentations, yet we will forget most of them. However, some presentations are more outstanding in our minds and stay in our memories. Why is that? From an audience’s perspective, presentations are moments for them to take on new ways of thinking – whether it be an idea, innovation or inspiration. As leaders, entrepreneurs or speakers, engaging audiences begins with speaking from the audience’s perspective. Speaking about situations which the audience encounters, sharing ideas in simple wording which the audience can quickly relate with – that is how presenters get the audience on board with them throughout their presentation. When the audience is on board with you, the chances of them supporting your “call to action” increases. And that is what the objective of any pitch would be about. Lastly, if you want to start strong when delivering a pitch presentation – try adding a joke to the beginning of the presentation. Humor relaxes people and also engages them through laughter. Just make sure the joke you use is related to the topic you are presenting… and that the joke is actually funny!
●Whether during coaching or workshops, Donald makes the learning process fun and interactive. That’s how he inspires others to bring out the best in themselves.
How can people manage their nervousness before pitching?
If you’re nervous before a pitch presentation – congratulations! Nervousness means you care. You care about how well you will present, the impact made to the audience and you care about the impression you wish to give others. If you didn’t care about all that, you would not be nervous. The interesting thing about nervousness is that it’s created within our own minds, by ourselves. Usually, when we make ourselves nervous, we are thinking to ourselves – “What if I…?” We see images in our heads of ourselves making mistakes when presenting, forgetting to share an important piece of the presentation, or even say the wrong thing! Interestingly – all of those images are imaginary, and have not happened yet.
Conversely, if we can imagine ourselves making mistakes, we can also imagine ourselves succeeding. We can create images of ourselves engaging the audience, making them laugh, applaud and bringing them to their feet at the end of our pitch. By seeing ourselves making the impression which we wish to deliver to audiences, we start to feel excited – and look forward to going out there and winning them with our pitch. See yourself winning, and I look forward to seeing you win, in your next pitch!
What is your secret to being able to successfully coach senior executives?
Working with senior executives is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my job. Whether they are C-levels, Industry Experts or Government Leaders, they work with me because they have an important message to deliver, and have limited time to get it right. That’s a challenge that I thrive upon. What we always find is that these senior executives want to do well in their pitch. And because they are inclined to succeed, our working relationship is transparent and focused on what can be done. By understanding their preferences and desired outcomes, we explore together to craft the most impactful way to deliver their message. Depending on their style and the theme of the message, we help them craft personal stories, audience interactions or even creative visual aids to become distinguished in front of audiences.
●Donald’s passion it working with clients to transform ideas into inspiration