January 13, 2014 4:42 pm

just quickly


We were up with the lark this morning, working with a client while it was still dark outside. We were huddled with one of their pitch teams giving their pitch presentation one last polish.

Everyone on the team is experienced at presenting.   And not just experienced, but talented too.  But about half way through, the lead presenter let slip one of those phrases that drains a presenter, however talented, of all authority.

What was the phrase?

“I’ll just quickly go through the background to our recommendation…”

I’ll just quickly go through.

Have you ever heard this, or something like it?  Very likely, yes.

If you’re in the audience, what do you think?

Whether it’s conscious or sub-conscious, you’re likely to think one or more of these:

  • They don’t think their content is relevant
  • They don’t think their content is worth listening to
  • If they don’t think their content is worth spending time on, why are we bothering?

And then how interested or persuaded are you by what comes next?  Not very.

The phrase “I’ll just quickly…”, and phrases like it, sabotage whatever comes immediately after.

Now imagine the same intro but minus the sabotaging phrase.   As the audience you’d listen attentively, unaware of any potential negative.

Have you ever sabotaged your presentations like this?  For sure, I know I have.

There’s an old adage in ad-land, and no doubt other industries: “never apologise, never explain”.  It means, don’t undermine a recommendation by apologising for it or trying too hard to justify it.   And it’s just as relevant in presenting.

Our tip?  Never apologise for your content.  If you feel you need to apologise for it, you probably need to cut it.

And how did the pitch go?  Brilliantly, of course!  (And if you’d like some pitch polish too, give us a call and we can chat about this).