If you’ve ever sat through a pitch deck heavy on bullet points and short on impact, you know what a snooze fest it can be. Whether you’re pitching for funding or presenting to a potential client, don’t waste the opportunity. Hook your audience while you have the chance.
Here’s a quick story to make my point. Several years ago I was working with Zocere, a New Mexico-based startup with a promising drug candidate for ischemic strokes and concussions. The patented technology behind the drug was shown to stop damage to the brain post stroke and post trauma (concussion). There hadn’t been a new stroke drug on the market in years and offered a novel solution.
The company’s investor pitch opened with details on the drug candidate itself, a derivative of the brain-specific STEP protein tyrosine phosphatase, an important downstream regulator of NMDAR-dependent neuronal injury.you get my point. It was a dry way to introduce a drug candidate with the potential to be the first neuro-protectant – read “brain protecting” – on the market, with applications beyond stroke. (Think football-induced concussions.)
What Zocere needed was a “hit them between the eyes” hook.
This is what Lux-Writes came up with:
Zocere’s CEO looked at me quizzically. One of the lead investors laughed out loud. Not because they didn’t get it – it was a brain-protecting drug after all – it was just so quirky. It was to the point and memorable. And it leveraged Zocere’s current branding and website.
I went on to suggest the presenter take red hardhats to pitches, pass them around to investors and open his pitch with this question:
I also suggested they display the red hardhats at investor events; giving them away to potential investors.
The client loved the hook and used the red hardhat and “Brain Protection” message at his next investor event. Instead of getting lost in “derivative of the brain-specific STEP protein…” the audience immediately connected with the idea of a drug candidate that delivered brain protection. After the pitch, investors came up to the client wanting to know more about Zocere’s brain protection.
Moral of the story: hooks work. Thought-provoking visuals are just one way to hook your audience. Here are some other ways:
- Tell a short story involving your product or service.
- Ask a rhetorical question.
- Set an expectation.
- Make a provocative claim.
- Reference a current or historical event. (Avoiding politics, please!)
The goal is to grab the audience’s attention and make them want to hear everything you have to say. When you stand out in the crowd, you’re much more likely to get the results you want.
Are you a startup in need of a hook? Do you have a presentation that’s falling flat? Is your industry complex and hard to explain to audiences? I’m happy to take a look and offer advice based on 20-plus years as a brand consultant, marketer, freelance writer, and angel investor. Let’s connect.