It’s addictive and uplifting viewing. And beyond the entertainment, I find myself thinking it’s also a good reminder of what works in a business presentation.
Am I for real in saying that? Well, here are 10 pitch reminders I picked up from the semi-finals…
• You’ve got to have a USP. If you look like all the other acts, there’s no real reason to choose you – however good you are.
• Keep things simple. You need a killer theme that holds the whole performance together. Anything else confuses.
• Be memorable. During the semi-finals I watched all 45 performances, but one week on only a couple stick in the mind.
• Show your passion. If you don’t seem to care about what you do, why should your audience care about you? In a more business (or political) context, Teddy Roosevelt said it brilliantly: “No one cares how much you know, until they know you care.”
• Be true to what you’re good at. If you try to be something you’re not, the judges will buzz you out.
• Make a human connection. The acts with a great human-interest story have an edge over those that don’t.
• That said, I suspect that – in the end – talent will out. However great a personality you’ve got, if the content is absent from your act, you won’t end up on the winner’s podium.
• Remember the big picture. The judges in the room are swayed by what the audience thinks. Be plugged into the ultimate buyers.
• Prepare well – not just for the main act, but for the Q&A section at the end. Saying the right words at that moment can melt hearts and land trophies.
• Never argue with the feedback you’re given. You only come across sounding defensive and crass.
And if you’re interested in who I think will win, well, what do I know? But it might be a close-run thing between Jack Pack and Bars and Melody.
Martin MacConnol is chief executive of Wardour