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The 3-Minute Rule

Say Less to Get More from Any Pitch or Presentation

By Brant Pinvidic
18-minute read
Audio available
The 3-Minute Rule by Brant Pinvidic

"By the end of three minutes, your audience will already be leaning yes or no on your proposal. From that point on, you can continue yammering for another 57 minutes, but the die is already cast."

The 3-Minute Rule (2019) is an incisive guide to creating an ultra-concise, ultra-compelling pitch for any idea, product, service or company. Beginning with the provocative thesis that you have only three minutes to persuade a modern audience, it provides you with a blueprint for packing those three minutes with your best possible material. 

  • Business people who need to pitch things in a corporate setting    
  • Creative people who need to pitch things in the entertainment industry 
  • Anyone else who needs to pitch something to someone

Brant Pinvidic is a veteran television producer, a C-level corporate consultant and an award-winning documentary film director. He has used his method of pitch development to successfully pitch over 300 TV and movie projects. They include the hit TV shows Bar Rescue and Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition, both of which he was the executive producer for. He is also a columnist for Forbes magazine and the host of the popular podcast Why I’m Not. The 3-Minute Rule is his first book. 

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The 3-Minute Rule

Say Less to Get More from Any Pitch or Presentation

By Brant Pinvidic
  • Read in 18 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 11 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
The 3-Minute Rule by Brant Pinvidic
Synopsis

"By the end of three minutes, your audience will already be leaning yes or no on your proposal. From that point on, you can continue yammering for another 57 minutes, but the die is already cast."

The 3-Minute Rule (2019) is an incisive guide to creating an ultra-concise, ultra-compelling pitch for any idea, product, service or company. Beginning with the provocative thesis that you have only three minutes to persuade a modern audience, it provides you with a blueprint for packing those three minutes with your best possible material. 

Key idea 1 of 11

Your pitch has three minutes to succeed.

Imagine you’re about to have a meeting with some potential investors, customers, partners or collaborators. You’ve got an amazing idea, product, service or company to pitch to them. You know it’s a winner. The only problem is they don’t even know what it is or how it works, let alone why it’s so great. Heck, for all they know, you’re just another person with a bridge to sell. 

In other words, you’ve got a lot of explaining and persuading to do – so you better pull out all the stops, right? Design an hour-long PowerPoint presentation that explains everything in meticulous detail. Fill it with a bunch of clever animations, jokes, one-liners and catchphrases. Practice all those tips and tricks you’ve learned about public speaking, sales, and persuasion.  

That’s the traditional approach – but it gets everything backward. The truth is you’d do a whole lot better if you did the opposite. Simplify the PowerPoint – or even ditch it altogether. Cut out the fluff. Forget the gimmicks. Stop worrying so much about your delivery. Focus just on conveying your key information as clearly and concisely as possible – three minutes maximum. 

The alternative is to shoot yourself in the foot. That’s because in today’s fast-paced, digitally-connected world, people are constantly bombarded with information, advertising, and various other demands on their time, money, and mental bandwidth. As a result, their attention spans are short, and their patience is even shorter. They’ve got zero tolerance for hot air, long-windedness, gimmickry and anything else that wastes their time or insults their intelligence. They’re savvy, skeptical, and quick to pass judgment on whether your message is credible, relevant, and interesting to them. 

So, sure, you might have an entire hour booked for your presentation. But by the end of three minutes, your audience will already be leaning yes or no on your proposal. From that point on, you can continue yammering for another 57 minutes, but the die is already cast. Your audience is going to filter the rest of your presentation through the prism of their initial judgment. If it’s positive, they’ll be eager to learn more, and they’ll be receptive to what you have to say. If it’s negative, they’ll be doubtful, critical, resistant, bored or just plain tuned-out. Either way, you’re unlikely to win them back. 

In other words, three minutes isn’t just a suggestion; it’s a rule. Whether you realize it or not, you only have three minutes to win over your audience. The question is simply this: Will you design your pitch around the three-minute rule to maximize your chances of success? Or will you ignore it at your peril? The choice is yours. 

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