Business Pitches VS. Public Speaking and Presentations

Business pitches differ from presentations and public speaking

What Is The Difference Between Public Speaking Events, Business Presentations And Business Pitches?

I am often asked this question (as a Bid Director), while preparing teams for presentations, or for making business pitches. Many people assume that the skills they learned at “Toastmasters” easily transfer, but this is just not true!

At first glance the difference seems slight: all three use similar tools and strategies, and yet the differences are significant and critical. The disciplines involved in making a pitch are far more strenuous. A good pitch will feel easy and light. That’s a result of the work behind it, research, and rehearsal. The performance is intense.

Public Speaking Usually Lasts 45 To 60 Minutes

The focus of a public speaking event can vary in focus, from information, entertainment, motivation or inspiration. The speaker and the event planner usually decide the speech’s focus. There is a certain freedom given to the speaker, and the audience indulges them as well.
Professional speakers have a different focus and level of skill and expertise, and are paid a hefty fee to be excellent.

Public Speaking

  • Poetic license allowed
  • Dramatic expression used
  • Emotion is an essential element
  • Performance is critical
  • Anecdotal stories ‘make the point’
  • Truthfulness not assumed

A Business Presentation Usually Lasts 45 To 60 Minutes

Most business presentations are given to groups of less than 20 people, and the purpose is to provide information about a product and its benefits, or how a new procedure is going to impact a group or company.

Occasionally a business presentation has a sales component, but as most people hate being thought off as a sales person, that’s often not done very well.

These presentations are often carried out as Monday morning meetings or monthly updates. They usually have the hated badly-put-together PowerPoint (PowerPoint is not the problem, its usually the preparation.) A business presentation is often stressful, and to do well requires skill and hard work.

Business Presentations

  • Accuracy in reporting is important
  • Appropriate business behavior needed
  • Enthusiasm is allowed
  • Performance is a factor, but not critical
  • The product or project tells the story (sometimes prepared by head office)
  • Power Point or Keynote is used as Audio Visual support
  • Integrity, accuracy assumed

A Business Pitch Involving Millions (Fund Raising) In Less Than 20 Minutes With Intense Follow Up Q&A

It often takes 4 to 5 months of preparation for a high-level pitch, and in some cases the process of winning the bid can take up to 3 years. In the Olympic Bid process a pre-qualifying round was then followed by a technical assessment of capabilities, followed by a competitive presentation.

Many engineering and architectural design bids have the same elements, in a compressed time frame. Often the outcome affects the survival of the company involved, win and grow, lose and collapse!

The intense pressure of trying to win often causes emotional problems, as it might mean everyone’s job is riding on the outcome!

Business Pitches

  • A career or business is in the balance
  • Bid Director assigned to manage the
  • Accuracy in reporting is essential
  • Appropriate business etiquette required
  • Integrity, accuracy demanded
  • Professional story line developed and written
  • A story to raise awareness of the possibilities
  • A factual evidence the supports the story
  • Video clips or animation used to support the storyline
  • Expert endorsement often used to support the pitch
  • How it will all work, an explanation
  • What’s the payoff for the investment?
  • Are there any guarantees?
  • Intense questions & answers
  • Performance is critical for success in business pitches

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