Do you struggle to pitch yourself? Your ideas?

Learning the art of the perfect pitch is essential to making sure you and your ideas will be taken seriously.

I was lucky enough to sit down with Brant Pinvidic — an award winning film director, television producer, presentation coach, speaker, best-selling author, and columnist. He has worked on more than 300 projects in the film and entertainment industry, including smash hits like The Biggest Loser, Master Chef, Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition. He also created the “Why I’m Not” podcast. He has put his method to success into his new book “The 3-Minute Rule”, which is what he came to talk to me about today. 

Brant has created the perfect system for making a 3 minute pitch for just about anything! He details it in his new book, “The 3-Minute Rule”. He shows us how we can use his system and even uses Science of People as an example!

How does someone create a perfect pitch system?

Brant’s inspiration for the 3-minute rule actually came from years of making successful pitches all over Hollywood.

Brant remembers sitting in the CBS lobby waiting to pitch, and his meeting was sandwiched between Simon Cowell and Mark Burnett. He remembers wondering why anyone would want to hear him talk compared to these industry giants. He remembers thinking that he was going to get his idea out, let it sit, and get out as fast as he could. And that pitch actually worked really well.

Brant developed his pitching strategy based on this one successful pitch. He would get into a pitch, get to the idea, get through the key elements, and then let it sit for them to consider…in only 3 minutes.

Most people think they have to go into every detail in their pitch — wrong! They key is keeping it to less than 3 minutes.

He started getting more calls for pitches, and his ideas were met with much more consideration. People started to call him “The Best Pitcher in Hollywood”!

Tell Me About Your Worst Pitch

Brant tells us that there is a lot of value in failure, because there is so much to learn when things go wrong.

He shared with us one of his most difficult pitches, which was also at CBS, to someone who was legendarily difficult to pitch to. Brant was pitching a gambling-themed game show. Brant had a routine mapped out in his head to explain the idea of the game show through an action-packed example, which didn’t end up going according to plan.

This inspired Brant to simplify his entire approach to pitches. He didn’t want to leave his pitch dependent on numerous factors ever again, and instead scaled back his pitching strategy to only focus on the simplest way possible of explaining an idea. This put Brant on the path toward creating the 3-Minute Rule.

The Way We Impress People is to Let Them Impress Us

One of the key insights that Brant had into developing his pitching strategy was that people really want to talk about themselves. One of the most important things we can let people do is to listen to what they have to say.

The more we actually say to people, the more they might be able to tell that we are selling them an idealistic version of our idea, rather than just letting the essence of the idea speak for itself. It actually comes across as more impressive to say less and to let them consider the idea on its own merit.

The WHAC Method

Now that we have seen Brant’s journey toward forming his strategy for the perfect pitch, let’s take a look at the rule itself! The 3-Minute Rule is based on the WHAC Method:

The WHAC method is a key component of the Three Minute Rule, and essentially forms the outline and the key structure of a great pitch.

The WHAC method is about organizing your information so that your audience processes it in the right order and receives all the information you want them to have to make their decision. The order in which you give the information is absolutely essential.

The book goes into details, but here are the basics: 

  • What is it? What do you do/offer? Quickly tell someone what it is that you do, or what it is that you are offering. 
  • How does it work? Explain how your idea works. Give a rundown on exactly how your idea will function so that they understand exactly what you are trying to pitch to them
  • Are you sure? After you’ve explained your idea, give them reasons to back up what you said, and reasons why they should believe your claims. Explain why what you do is/will be effective. If there is research to back it up, you can mention it here. They already know what it is you do and how it works; now you convince them why they should believe you. 
  • Can you do it? This is all about whether your idea will actually be practical to put into action. This is where you use your past knowledge, your available resources and skills, and financial feasibility to prove that you can do this. You need to prove that your pitch is realistic and attainable. This is essentially the logistics phase of the pitch. 

Conceptualize, Contextualize, Actualize

The WHAC method is based on the real way that we think and make decisions. We first conceptualize by understanding what the concept is, which is why you explain what you are offering first. Then, we contextualize this information to what it actually means to us and how it will potentially benefit us. Finally, we actualize, which is where we decide how we will add this to our lives. The WHAC method walks the pitch recipient through these steps in order for them to effectively make their decision.

The statements that are made need to prove why your ideas are so valuable to that person, and this can only be done if they are first aware of what your idea actually is.

Three Minute Decision

By following the WHAC Method, you will essentially extend a person’s decision making process to about three minutes (hence the rule), because every piece of information you are giving them logically flows with their actual decision making process, and each new bit of information helps them make a decision.

Ending a Pitch

Here’s the best ending to your pitch – say nothing! The ending is surprisingly not helpful to your pitch. You’ve covered everything you need to cover in the WHAC method. The relevant details are there, so just leave them with what they need. This is a pitch, not a conversation. A corny ending reminds people that they are being sold. They don’t need that reminder; you’ve told them what they need to hear, so just leave it at that.

Want to see WHAC in action? Watch the video above to see how Brant breaks down Vanessa’s pitch!

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