You should have a 5 sec, 5 min, 50 min, 5 hour version of your pitch.

Call it the rule of 5s.  I was sitting through some meetings yesterday and the topic of conversation turned to the appropriate amount of time to pitch what we do.  Some said a minute.  Some said an hour.  Others brought up the classic elevator pitch.  No one was on the same page.  And it’s because they are all right – the appropriate length for your pitch is no more than the amount of time you are given and no less than the amount of time it takes to effectively describe what you are doing.

Short version of that long sentence:  Get to the point and don’t bore your audience.

Generally speaking you have the following situations when you need to pitch:

  • Ad hoc meeting on the fly (5 second pitch)
  • Part of a larger presentation (5 minutes)
  • Standalone presentation (50 minutes – because 10 is for people to show up and get comfortable)
  • Strategic conversations going into lots of detail (5 hours – because if you know your stuff you can talk as long as you need)

You should have your pitch crafted to fit all of the above situations.

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