SlideRocket Blog

How to Win a Million Dollars in less than 90 Seconds

By Nat Robinson on October 22, 2010

I find inspiration in the strangest places and last night I as I watched Grey’s Anatomy on ABC I was surprised to find myself thinking about presentations. Here’s the setup. The Chief of medicine Dr. Webber tells his heads of department that he has a spare $1M and invites them to pitch him on why their department should get the money. The jockeying and competitive head games ensue as each doctor tries to win the money and we get to watch a fantastic cross section of personalities giving presentations to the chief.

Statistics, Relevancy, Emotion, Passion and Delivery could win you $1M

(Spoiler Alert: Don’t read beyond this point if you don’t want to know how this episode turns out)

Now to take this post beyond the water cooler I’m going to ask you to visit ABC’s site and fast forward to 14m 40s to see the winning pitch by Dr. Hunt. By all means watch the whole episode but the 1m 14s of this pitch convinced me that THIS is the way to win $1M in less than 90 seconds and here’s why.

Statistics: Dr. Hunt uses statistics to highlight salient parts of his argument. He doesn’t overwhelm us with them but uses them in support of his main point, lives could have been saved.

Story: Dr. Hunt relates the specific case of a doctor who’s death could have been prevented. This makes his pitch more personal and makes us empathize with his plight. Again this story is relevant to his main argument. Doctors with disaster training could have prevented these deaths.

Relevancy: Dr. Hunt makes his story relevant to the people involved. Himself, his colleagues and the person he’s pitching too. Nothing can sway an audience more than, here’s what this means to you.

Emotion: If you’re talking about something that stirs up emotion for you then it’s ok to impart that to your audience if done in an appropriate way. We’re all human and this is the kind of thing that can make an audience go quiet and really listen to what you’re going to say next.

Passion: Although Dr. Hunt is not loud or vociferous. You can feel that this is something he’s passionate about. Honestly if you’re not passionate about what you’re presenting, you may want to ask yourself, why you’re doing it. Passion is key to creating an engaging presentation.

Delivery: This is a TV drama so the caveat is that this is a dramatic performance. Dr. Hunt pauses to make his point, sighs, reflects and then delivers the crushing question. Can you live with this? Don’t underestimate dramatic effect, it’s a powerful tool in your presentation arsenal. The challenge is not to overdo it, you need to remain authentic in your delivery.

Dr. Hunt won the $1M for delivering an impassioned and convincing pitch in 74 seconds. Why aren’t all presentations like this?


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