One More Move and Pitching to Win Blog by Stephan Mardyks with David Beckett

Uncategorized Aug 29, 2022

Welcome to the One More Move Blog. We believe that in every situation, there's always one more move. The context of the One More Move Blog is based on a painting entitled Checkmate by Moritz Retzsch. Two opponents are facing each other across the chessboard. On one side of the painting is the enemy, and on the other side is a young man. The young man thought that he was losing and his soul was at stake. An angel watches over the young man. One day a Chess Master studies the painting in the Louvre Museum in Paris. He studies the arrangement of the pieces left on the chess board.

Suddenly, the Chess Master realizes that the King has one more move, the young man will win and be Saved.

Visit The Story page for the full story about the painting.

Our guest is David Beckett, founder of Best3Minutes, where he h
elps Companies, Innovation Teams and Startups to pitch and win resources and business.


 
Stephan Mardyks:

I would love to know, David, what do you see in this painting?

David Beckett:
I think the first thing that comes to mind is somebody who's "up against it", who is trying to work out what to do when they've got their back to the wall, but all is not lost yet.

But it's also a very "brainy" picture. There's a lot of thinking. There's a hand to the head, there's a finger to the face. That's also telling, "Okay, we're thinking at the next move." But of course, all that thinking is going to turn into action at any moment. These are the things that jump into my mind when I see it. And of course the angel in the background is a bit hard to call, whether it's feeling pity or looking over. But I guess that's the beauty of great art. It's not always immediately obvious.

Stephan Mardyks:
That's true. And it's how YOU see the art, yourself, right?

David Beckett:
Exactly.

Stephan Mardyks:
I love your description.
So, there is hope?

David Beckett:
Yes. All is not lost. You're struggling. It looks like you are under pressure, but there's still a possibility. There's still hope.

Stephan Mardyks:
Exactly. So, you are a top expert on pitching. Your content and concepts are groundbreaking. If you were this young man, what would be your pitch against the enemy (The opponent against you in this chess game)?

What would be a three minute pitch?

David Beckett:
Three minute pitch? Well, I think every pitch always starts with the desire. When we prepare a pitch there, our desire is to get into it, start preparing it, start telling it and so on. But I encourage people to think about who's the audience and what do they care about?

So I think the first thing I would be doing is trying to understand, "What does this person want?" This person in front of me.

Do they simply want to beat me to pieces, take my soul? Is there anything else that might be on their minds? What else could I offer? What else could be on their minds? So I think the first thing I would be doing is asking questions. What's on your mind, what would make you happy? What's your biggest challenge?

So when it comes to a pitch, I think getting into the mind of the audience is half the art actually. And you can't always do that. Don't always know who those people are. Maybe this person's not willing to share, but just opening things up to get out of the battle - and more to get on some common ground, I think would be my starting point.

Stephan Mardyks:
So, the first question from this young man would be, "What's on your mind?"

David Beckett:
Yes. What do you really want? What's your goal? And maybe his answer is "your soul." If that's really it, then it's battle. But maybe there's something else. I think often, people see a pitch as a kind of battle between the person trying to get the resources, the person who's got the resources. We've got to find some way to trick them.

For me, it's more about trying to connect interests, to find out their interest. What do they want? And have I got something to offer to them, has the person pitching? So I think that's the starting point. If he wants the soul, why does he want the soul? What's it going to help him achieve? And maybe the answer is I just want your soul, but maybe there's something else. Maybe there's something else on his mind. And that would help steer the next steps.

Stephan Mardyks:
Good point. Sometimes we're in situation where we're pitching a concept, a startup, a project, a business idea, regardless if you're an entrepreneur or leader. And you feel that the people you are pitching to aren't buying it. What is the best way to handle your pitch when you don't have receptive people in front of you?

David Beckett:
I think there's a couple of things. Sometimes you go into a pitch and people will have objections. My advice is, "Put that objection on the table." So just as a quick example, some years ago, before Zoom was so popular, I coached a team that had a video advice tool. It was for insurance companies and banks to give advice to their clients, without those clients having to go to a branch. It was back in 2015. And I asked them, do people compare you to Skype? Which was the incumbent at the time. Of course it would be zoom right now. And they said, "All the time." And I asked them, "Well, what's different to Skype?" And they gave me five, six, seven different things that were unrelated to Skype that were specific things about their tool that was specific to their customers.

We decided we would say halfway through the pitch, "You might be thinking," such and such. You might be thinking what's the difference between this company and Skype or other video chat systems? And then we listed up all the things. So the first thing is, if you know the objections are there, then go head to head with them, but come with solutions, of course. So that's the first situation.

The second situation is when you feel you are in your pitch and you feel, oh, this is not going right. I've missed the mark here. My feeling is you're better to just put that on the table too, rather than just plow on with the story. Cut it back and say, "I think I'm just going to shorten this bit because I'd just like to understand, is there something missing from this story that you are expecting? Is there something that you were hoping for? Because I have the feeling we're not exactly matching what you were looking for," and get in the conversation.

I think you're more likely to find out if you feel the audience is not with you, the best thing to do is try to find out why, and then shorten the pitch, get into conversation, ask some questions, and that will give you something to work with. It sounds easy. Someone's probably thinking, "But that's really difficult." Actually, people really appreciate it. If you stop and say, "Hey, is there anything else that you wanted to know? I feel like we're missing the mark here." If I was on the other side of that, I would say, "Well, actually what I really wanted to know was," such and such. And even if the answer is, I'm sorry, this is just not for us... okay. Then that's not the end of the world. That saves everybody's time. The best thing to do is shorten it, get it into the conversation, and see if there's a next step that could take you closer to your goal.

Stephan Mardyks:
I love that. Your recommendation is to start with the potential objections.

David Beckett:
Yes! Put them on the table.

Stephan Mardyks:
How does this work?

David Beckett:
Well, let me give you an example. I'm not sure how well known TomTom is these days in America, but in Europe, TomTom was the sat nav device. And now TomTom, over the last years, has gone a long way away from the sat nav device and going towards map making. It's a software company actually, but people still have the picture of them as a sat nav device.

So when I was working with them, I was coaching a lot of people to present at events and conferences and so on and quite early on in the talks, I recommended that they would say something along the lines of, "You might think of TomTom as a company, that's a sat nav company. Indeed, we sold a hundred million devices. And because we sold a hundred million devices, we've got connection with this many customers and got this many hundred millions, I think it's even billions, per hour of pieces of data, which means we are ideally positioned to be at the future of autonomous driving," so that you pick up the thing. You might think of us as this, but then you give them a reason why that's changed and show what the future is.

So there's various ways to do it. The easiest way is simply to say, "Now you might be thinking." If you know that's on their mind or there's a good chance that's on their mind, you just mirror it back to them and then deal with it. So that's an easy way to do it. But TomTom example. You might think of this in this way, but that's changed, because here's the future. Now let me tell you about that future. That takes them on a journey.

Stephan Mardyks:
Is that where you start your pitch?

David Beckett:
I think you start with "What's the big idea, here". So a little bit about what's the big idea. What are we solving? But not far into the pitch, you deal with a hanging question. The hanging question is that question that's like a huge question mark that's just sitting in front of your face and your ears, which says, "yes, but this won't work because," and no matter what you hear, all you will do is you have that filter of ... "yes, but this won't work because..."

So just an example, I coached a team that had a payment by face recognition technology. And my wife, Sheila, is extremely careful about her privacy. So if you pitch that business to her, but you don't within the first 30 seconds, start talking about data privacy, she can't hear any of it, because the only thing that's going through her mind is what about my privacy? What about my data? And so within the first 30 seconds, because it's very data. It's a sensitive topic. If you had a three minute pitch, definitely within the one minute you would mention that topic because that's almost certainly on people's minds.

So I think if you know, that thing is on people's minds, then bring it up as early as possible in the pitch. But at least get established what's the big idea here. What is it we're solving? Then, what might be the product? But then you might be thinking and then get into that hanging question and get it out of the way so they can listen to the rest of it with an open mind.

Stephan Mardyks:
So, it's very similar to a negotiation tactic?

David Beckett:
Yes. It's a form of negotiation. It's dealing with objections, but sometimes people don't express them. They just sit there with it internally. And then this is a way of drawing it out. And of course, you've got to have the confidence that what's on their mind, but if you go through a few pitches, quite often, you'll get one question, come back to you and then it comes back again. And if it comes back the third time, probably that's something on people's minds.  The more that question recurs, then the more likely it is on everyone's mind.

Stephan Mardyks:
We've all been in situations where someone is pitching to us, and they don't read what's on our mind. They just keep plowing ahead.

David Beckett:
And you have that feeling like,  "why are you not talking about X?" Because obviously X is an issue. And if they don't deal with X, we feel like the whole pitch is kind of on the mind. So we want that big thing that's on our minds dealt with. That's why the interaction, I think, really matters. Keep the broadcasting to a limited amount so they know enough. And get into the conversation as quickly as possible.

Stephan Mardyks:
So, first, we handle objections.  Next, we ask questions? 

David Beckett:
Absolutely. Ask them some questions, be transparent. What's the worst thing that can happen? If you say, "I have the feeling of missing the mark here. Is there something on your minds that you are expecting?" And if they say, "This is just not for us," okay. Then it isn't, but you can also ask, "Well, why is that? What aspect of it?" And you can get in a conversation and maybe you find something that helps you get to the next step.

Stephan Mardyks:
Yes. And this makes us vulnerable. Typically, we think great leadership is all about our confidence and expertise.  And it's probably counterintuitive, but people connect with you if you're authentic.

David Beckett:
Yes, definitely. And I think it's Dan Pink that highlighted this research on perfection and people don't really believe in perfection. They are more convinced and they're more likely to go along with something that is imperfect. And that means, of course, do all the preparation. Be professional and have a high level of quality, but equally, being open to finding something out, to finding out that something's not perfect, or even being able to show some vulnerability and say, "Hey, it feels like this is not quite on point. Where do we go from here?" People appreciate it. Definitely.

Stephan Mardyks:
Wow, it's difficult to admit when you know it's not working well.
You have to have boldness to say, "Hey, I think I'm missing the mark."

Not many people do this, right?

David Beckett:
No, but again, I think it's useful to have that thought. Okay, what's the worst thing that could happen? I remember my first boss, when I had to call some people in our organization, in other countries, I was working for a Division of Canon and I was really bad at picking up the phone and calling people. And he said to me, "What's the worst thing that can happen? They can say no. They can't come round and smash your head in or set light to your house. They'll just say no."

And I've found that really useful. Well, what's the worst thing that could happen? Well, they'll just tell me to get lost. Okay. That's not nice, but it's not the end of the world. On to the next one. I think in no is much more useful than a maybe and finding out why there's a no can either mean you can then come back for something or you can say, "Okay, fair point." And then go and try and solve that no for the next customer. Or maybe come back in three months and say, "Hey, we fixed that."

So I think getting to grips with what's really on their minds is one of the steps, the biggest steps. The selling is push, push, push, try and push them out of the objection. But I think advanced selling is about understanding, finding ways, to either recycle that into the future pitch or solving that problem, providing them what they're looking for, and coming back to it.

Stephan Mardyks:
How would you say that, exactly? Do you say, "I believe this idea's great," or, "I believe that this product's exactly what the market's looking for, but I sense that I'm missing the mark here."
Is there way to phrase it positively?

David Beckett:
It's exactly what you describe. Reaffirming that you believe in what you're proposing is definitely a good kind of wrap up. Maybe a quick summary. So what you've seen is this and this, I always recommend that in any pitch. So what you've seen are these three key points. So if you need to shorten it, and nobody ever complains it's too short, then you can shorten it down, give them three key summary points, and then get into one of those questions, which could be, this is what I believe. I believe that we've got this and this is the problem that needs to be solved. We've got a product that's already solving it for a lot of customers. And we've got a team to back that up. Now, how do you see it? How does this fit with your idea? Is there anything you're missing? And try and make it a little bit open.

And if that doesn't generate anything, you can then go a bit more clearly and say, "It feels like there's some sort of mismatch, at least in the communication, because I feel we've got something that's really valuable for you, but I'm not sure that's really landing with you. What's on your minds?" And I think that combination of confirming I think it's a really great idea. That's why we are here. But there's something not right. Something that you are missing. And then the communication is maybe not connecting right. I think these can be ways to help that conversation move on.

Stephan Mardyks:
Let's move to the enemy in this painting. The young man has one more move, and he is going to win. We know the end of the story. Good always triumphs against evil. But in this painting, we can see how arrogantly the enemy is looking at this young man. He says, "I'm getting your soul here." Do people pitching sometimes become too self confident?

David Beckett:
Definitely. So, I think it's an interesting challenge, especially for younger entrepreneurs, because they're expected to have a lot of confidence, but they're also expected to be vulnerable. So, they've got to have a lot of the answers, but they also need to be coachable. I think that's one of the biggest challenges. For young entrepreneurs, certainly also for older entrepreneurs. People have got to have experience, I think that's a part of the job actually. But you're right. Sometimes a person pitching can over overdo the confidence part.

I think there's a difference between confidence and certainty. Confidence can cover a lot of weaknesses. The overconfidence could be covering something up. Certainty is, "I believe every word I'm telling." And there's a difference, really. You know can have confidence and certainty, but certainty always wins.

Look at the entrepreneurs like Elon Musk or Richard Branson, for example. Richard, Branson's the really good one to watch from the eighties and nineties because he has a bit of a stutter. He's not the most confident speaker, but he never said a word that he didn't believe in. I've just listened to the audio book of James Dyson from Dyson vacuum cleaners. His company is worth hundreds of millions. He doesn't sound the most confident, but he's absolutely certain of everything he says. You can feel it, and you can hear it.

Certainty is really important. Certainty comes from doing the work. Certainty comes from going through all different steps, whether that's about your pitch or about the way you connect with customers, or the way you build your product. It's about following a good process and being professional.

Confidence can be the next step, but I think confidence is best when it's built on certainty. People can feel that. They can smell it, actually. Overconfidence can be a danger. Certainty is the goal.

Stephan Mardyks:
Certainty is a good way to put it. We've all been in situations where people are pitching, and they seemed too arrogant.

David Beckett:
So for most people who are in that situation, they usually don't realize it. There's a small number of people that do, and they're looking for ways to change it. There's very few people who I've come across who really want to be seen that way. I think, for me, the starting point with helping people with the way that they bring that story is filming them and having them watch it back together. I've done this literally hundreds of times in one-to-one coaching sessions. Maybe on the phone or on the tablet, we sit there and we have a look. And for the first five minutes, I barely need to say anything because they say, "Oh my goodness, I didn't realize such and such. Why did I do that with my hands? Why did I say that?"

Yes. And I ask them, tell me what you like about the video, your presentation, your pitch. They find that really difficult because people immediately go into critical mode. And then, of course, I ask them, "What do you think could be improved?" And so most people have never actually spent time to look at videos of themselves presenting.

I was just coaching somebody, actually, who doesn't have much experience in public speaking. She told me that she had to present at a "all hands" meeting and looked back at the video and felt that her voice was monotone, and some of her expression was a flat. Well, that's a great start. You've taken the time to look at that video and identify two or three things that you want to improve. You might not know how. That's my job - to help you. You've got the motivation, the self-reflection to think, "Is it working? Am I delivering my story in the way I want it to be received?"

Filming and reviewing is a big starting point for helping people. 90% of the time, they'll realize it. They'll see it. We focus on one thing at a time. Change this, do the run through, film it. And then we look back and ask if it's working.

Stephan Mardyks:
Let's talk about cultural differences.
How do you handle pitching to different cultures? 

David Beckett:
The first thing is to spend time thinking about that. Again: who's the audience? What's on their mind? What do they care about? Sometimes, that is a cultural thing. For example, in Asia, actually, I used to work for Canon (a Japanese company).

My colleague and I were trying to get some projects running. We would go into meetings and say, "The decision we need to make here today is..." And nothing would happen. We talked to some people who helped us. And they said, "You're just using the wrong word." If you come in and say, "We need to make a decision," everyone's barriers will come up. Try finding a word that people use. What words do your colleagues use?

We started going into meetings and saying, "Okay, the consensus we would like to achieve here is..." And you could feel the tension in the room evaporate. "The consensus." Okay. We're looking for consensus here. That was a completely different starting point. "Decision" is like a hard yes or no. But, a consensus? That's something that we agree on as a group. The culture was a "we" culture compared to an "I" culture. That was a much more acceptable way to try and move things to the next step.

I think the answer is always to tune into the audience. It's interesting. I've coached a lot of Dutch startups for pitching in America, and they tend to be underselling. They tend to understate the success that they've had, the progress they've made. The same goes with the Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland.

I had a customer recently. He explained, "we make it easier for contracts to be made." And after about five minutes, I said, "yes, I'm still struggling with this. Who are your customers?" And he said, "Red Bull and Axa." Okay. "So, you make contracts better for some of the biggest companies in the world?" "yes, Yes. We're doing that." I really had to try hard to get that information out. If that had been an American startup, quite rightly, they would be saying, "This is what we do. We save you eight hours out of every 10 for every contract and we are doing it for Red Bull, Axa, and many other major companies." That would be the first statement.

I think there's a cultural idea in the Netherlands, which is "Don't focus on yourself." Don't be bragging. If you're pitching in America, that won't work. Equally, if an American pitch, American style, comes in, says, "We're the most amazing thing in the world," Dutch people are very much like, okay, just show us what you've done. Tell us about the actual process behind this. So it's about matching cultures, taking time, and if it's important, doing some research to tune into what kind of language works. Is it a more confronting culture? an "I" culture compared to a "we" culture? These basic things can make quite a big difference.

Stephan Mardyks:
For a typical three minute pitch, how long does it take to prepare really well?

David Beckett:
There's probably an algorithm of importance, time, and a couple of other things which would sort give you an answer. I don't have an exact figure, but all I know is that it takes longer to prepare a really, really good three minute pitch than it does a 30 minute presentation at times. It's all about how important it is. If it's really important, it will take a long time.

I was in a pitch competition myself a couple of years ago just before COVID and I'm not sure exactly how many hours, but it was at least 10. And the day before the final pitch, I was making a note of each run through that. I did, I made 36 run throughs. And when you get to that point, on the 29th, you get to the point where you're thinking, "Why am I spending so much time on this stupid pitch?" But when you get to that stage, you have a good chance of winning probably. And actually, I did win. And I'm pretty sure that the reason it was a success was because of that time invested. If you win the competition or get a connection, that's the next step. If it goes as well as it possibly could, the work evaporates.

So an answer to it, I would say, if it's really important, it can take 10 or 12 hours. If it's not so important, you can quickly brainstorm. Get the big issues out of your head. If you're under time pressure, you can do this in an hour. No problem. And you can do a reasonable job of that pitch. In a couple of hours, you can get a pretty decent pitch. You want it to be really, really good? It's six, seven hours plus.

Stephan Mardyks:
That's a good ratio. So, how do you structure a pitch?

David Beckett:
Well, I think again, it starts, who's the audience? What's the objective? But let's take a scenario, say you're in a networking event and you are a startup. There's some investors in the room. So your goal is to get a meeting. So the first thing is "the audience." You might have 50 people in the room, but if there's three investors, you want to get a meeting with one of these three. That's your starting point for your audience. And your objective is pretty clear. You want to get a one hour meeting.

My biggest recommendations on that is to have clarity on what problem you're solving. So finding "the pain", and making that pain human so that people can feel it. Is it lost time? Is it cost? How much time are they losing? How much cost complexity? Something that people can actually feel. For example, parking. Parking's quite difficult. It doesn't motivate anybody. But if you say, "It takes over 20 minutes every day for people to find parking in a city like Amsterdam," which means that they're losing time, driving them crazy, and their family's having dinner without them again.

So that's the first thing. The biggest and most important part is the pain you're solving, making that human, and then being clear on "Are there hundreds of people, thousands, millions?" How big is that problem? Then, of course, the product. What's the solution? The danger is to over-explain. The key is to keep it compact, and keep focused on the total pitch. The business, not just the product. So pain, product, potentially something about what's unique, one or two things, but a key next step is "What proof is there?" So if you've got sales already, if you're selling to any recognizable customers, or if you've got validation, you've communicated with potential customers, pain, product, and traction, anything that shows this could be as success, then what do you need to make it happen? What would be some next steps? And who's the team behind it?

Now this seems like a lot to put into three minutes. And three minutes is about 420 words. You can say a maximum of 150 words per minute, and people still follow. So I would make a guideline of around 420 words as a script. And if you look at it as pain, product, unique, traction, team, and why you, your motivation, that's six different things. Now, you've literally got about 27 sentences. So where are you going to spend your time? Probably a bit more on the pain, a couple of things on what's unique, something like three or four sentences on the traction, something similar on the team, something similar on why you. So this helps you break it down, but those would be the six big things. Pain, product, what's unique, traction. What do you need? And then the team. And why you?

Stephan Mardyks:
How would you end a pitch?

David Beckett:
The closing is three big things. "So what you've seen is this, this, and this" in one sentence. and "what we want you to do" is one short sentence. And a big fat thank you so that they know it's finished and they can clap now.

Stephan Mardyks:
The name of your company is "Best Three Minutes." Why choose that name?

David Beckett:
Well, the three minutes has become a pretty standard pitch. I would say that probably half of my work at least is helping people with three minute pitches. And of course, people in business who are pitching to customers will have longer meetings and longer possibilities. But people are making decisions in seconds to listen a bit longer. And they're making decisions within the first couple of minutes, maximum three minutes, of is this something for me? Should I pay more attention? Should I ask more questions?

In startup world, the three minutes is a pretty standard length. It's sort of short enough for people to keep attention, long enough for you to get a bit of substance, and enough places for you to be able to ask some questions. I actually wrote a book called "Three Minute Presentation". I was looking for threeminutepresentation.com and it wasn't available. And so I talked with Sheila. Okay, what names could we come up with? And she said, "What about Best Three Minutes?" I thought, okay, that's aspirational. It fits the audience. They're often doing a three minute pitch. And it was available. So that's a good combination.

Stephan Mardyks:
When I think about your work, I'm thinking about a Blaise Pascal quote. "If I would've had more time, I would've written a shorter letter."

David Beckett:
Exactly that. It's a great line and it's true. Sometimes it's really hard to just keep it short. And the question is always, could I say one thing less and still be understood? Could I say it shorter and still make my point?

Stephan Mardyks:
Let's talk about the angel. Sometimes, you are in a situation where, let's say you are pitching as a team. Someone pitching is not doing a great job. You want to help them. What do you do? How does someone rescue a bad pitch?

David Beckett:
The word "team" is the starting point. How do we communicate that we are a team? And one of the worst ways to do that is to be negative about your colleagues' pitch. Equally, if they're really struggling, there are supportive ways to pick that up. For example, I've heard people say things like, "Well, John here is not making clear about such and such," or, "What John's missed is such and such," but I think that's an undermining approach. That's a way to reduce your colleague and I'm okay you are not okay. I make myself bigger because you are smaller. Sometimes people do it without thinking, but it's rare that it just happens.

There's always some kind of conscious decision. If your conscious decision is, "I'm here to support my colleague, I'm here to help the company succeed," those two things need to happen at the same time. I think you can say, "I'd just really like to add on what John said here." That's a building statement.

You can even say, "Let me build on what John has communicated here." I think it's all about attitude. What's your mindset? What's your attitude to this situation? Is it put that person down so you look better? Or try to lift them up so that you lift the whole story? That mindset will always be more successful.

Stephan Mardyks:
It rubs me the wrong way when people say for example, "Let me add some colors to what so and so said." Can you give us alternative phrases we could say?

David Beckett:
I think it's about being specific and saying, "When John mentioned such and such, I totally agree. And let me add," so that you emphasize it.

John mentioned such and such, which is really important for us. If I can just add to that ... so that you make clear, this person didn't fail to communicate. They communicated something and there's even more to the story. I think it's a lot about the mindset that says, "I want to build. I to add and grow the story." That will come across. If the mindset is, "This person's screwing it up, I better fix it," that will come across as well. So it's a lot to do with attitude and mindset, actually.

Stephan Mardyks:
You are an incredible coach and mentor. If someone is really struggling or has issues with their pitch, how would you help them?

David Beckett:
I think one thing I do is go with some experience that I've had. I mean, I've literally walked into rooms with a senior executive in a company who has been crying because they're faced with having to present to 500 people. That's a person who had 16 years experience in the company. And that's the very real current and present situation. I've also had another person who was a brilliant entrepreneur, but was really struggling with his pitch and just literally head in his hands on the table and saying, "I have to quit as CEO." These are both people that have risen out of that and within weeks have managed to succeed.

So firstly, I think empathizing, making it clear you're not the first one to experience this. This is not uncommon. People think, oh, I have to be good at this. They see good speakers. But what they don't see is the many, many speakers that are not great, like most of us actually. It's a really difficult thing to do. I think the starting point is empathy. It's understandable that somebody feels nervous, scared. They don't feel like they know how to deal with the stress involved in it.

Then I think the next step is get some basics in place. Normally I focus on breaking things down into pieces. If you think of a pitch, a pitch is a big thing. But if you think about the first five sentences, anybody can work on the first five sentences. That's possible. And having what are the five things that you really want them to go away with as a result of this pitch? If you could only tell them five things, what would you tell them?

Actually, I'm a fan of three. What three things you want them to know? If it's a bit longer, maybe five is a maximum. I think trying to break it down into pieces is what I've always done. Instead of it being, "You have to make a great pitch," it's, "Well, let's think about the first five sentences. Can we make five good sentences?" What would be the three big topics that you wouldn't want them to forget? Anybody can identify those kind of things. And once you start getting some basics in place, people start to build that confidence. And I also give them tools about how to build certainty, something as simple as verbalizing, saying things out loud. Instead of it just being in your head, saying it out loud. And especially those opening five, six sentences can be the complete difference between a successful pitch and a failure.

The other thing I do quite often is get them to over-prepare for one pitch, to guarantee them a successful process. Once they over-prepare for one pitch, I'm 99.9% certain and I can get somebody to go through that process, have success, and have a process that they'll be able to follow afterwards no matter where they are.

So I think empathy, get them to break down some pieces, work on some smaller pieces, and then build towards one clear goal with a strong process that can turn people from barely being able to speak, to achieve. The guy who was the CEO I mentioned earlier on, he won pitch competitions and he exited his company recently. He was a great entrepreneur with one gap. That was public speaking. And in six weeks, he turned that into a strength.

Stephan Mardyks:
What is your greatest One More Move you ever made in your life?

David Beckett:
Probably the jump from the corporate world to the unknown. I'd worked for Canon for 16 years. And in 2009, I was here in Amsterdam and they announced that my job and 230 other jobs were moving to London. And in three seconds I thought, okay, that's it then. I'm done.

I'd thought about doing that already. I'd actually been writing down to my goals that I would get fired with a payoff actually. Then it happened. And I knew the answer within three seconds. Although, I'd worked very happily. Canon was a great company to work for. In 16 years, I'd worked in three different countries. That was my moment to make a change. And it was not an easy transformation because if you've worked in a big company for 16 years, how it works and you could follow that path. But I was 42. I wanted to change my life personally and professionally and everything changed in my life since then.

Stephan Mardyks:
How did you make this decision?

David Beckett:
The thing is I'd already been clear on what I would like to do. I think I got to a point where I thought, okay, I would like to change. And I was thinking about resigning and there was another job and there was another department and my name was in the ring for a different director's job. And it was kind of addictive to just keep going step by step through that corporate world.

But deep down, I knew I wanted to make a change. And when the word London was put forward, I left England because I wanted to see something different. I didn't want everything to be the same. I wanted difference. And so that was a big motivator. So as soon as I heard the word London, I thought, well, I'm not going back to England. And this is my opportunity. Let's make that personal change. Let's make that professional change.

Stephan Mardyks:
You recently celebrated your 1,000th workshop, right?

David Beckett:
It's hard to imagine really. But since I started pitch coaching a decade ago, it is become something I'm truly passionate about. I love doing it. I could give that workshop 10,000 times as far as I'm concerned.

Stephan Mardyks:
It's what I like about you. You're humbly impacting so many lives across the world.  

David Beckett:
Thank you. I appreciate it. That's always the goal. Create impact and help people succeed. 

Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.