At one point or the other, every startup will present their idea, product, or service in front of a big audience. The ability to present is one that you can learn, if you feel rather uncomfortable on stage. But where to start? How do you prepare an excellent pitch? We gathered a few practical insights for you to keep in mind.
Consider your audience
Pitches always vary in their length and style depending on your audience. On the one hand you have pitches on stage in front of more than 20 people, where you usually get between 1 to 5 minutes. On the other hand, it could be a smaller meeting-like setup where they expect a presentation of about 12 minutes.
Then you need to take into account who you will address: corporate representatives, potential partners, investors, media, students, entrepreneurs, a mix of all? Rather conservative? They are more likely to prefer a clear structure for your pitch. This means, you should have a proper introduction, main part and closing.
More modern? Alternative presentation styles may be taken into consideration, like role plays, or artefacts on stage. Whoever you address, take up the stage from the start. Greet your audience and give them a smile.
It is also strongly dependent on your audience to pick the right visual aids. Supporting a pitch with non-digital material regains a certain attractivity as slides often tend to distract from your verbal pitch, when poorly prepared or inadequate. Many investors find pitches with slides often boring. Therefore,
- signs, posters
- whiteboard or flipcharts
could differentiate your pitch from others.
You want to stand out from the crowd. There are a few ways that make a difference. You can attract attention by using different vocabulary than your audience would expect during your introduction, for example swearwords à la “The world I see now is bullsh**, this is why I…”. But pay attention to who you are pitching, not everyone favors rough language on stage.
Do not bore the audience
After the 100th pitch of the day, every investor or potential partner is exhausted. Make your pitch the most enjoyable minutes of their day! Instead of simply presenting your idea in a very analytical manner, you might also get across your information with a story.
Or use Metaphors to explain your rather abstract idea. Successful startups like Uber, AirBnB, or Facebook are often used as a reference. Introducing your idea by saying “it is the Uber of payments” is a great way to make your idea more understandable. But be careful as these metaphors are already quite overused. Nevertheless, make the audience understand your concept in the simplest manner possible. You have more time to go into details during Q&A or 1-on-1 meetings after your pitch.
Call for action
Never close a strong pitch abruptly by stopping your talk. At least close it with a simple “Thank you”. This is your time to shine! Make the most of it and intrigue your audience. Ask for feedback if time allows it, ask them to connect with you after the pitching session. No matter what, make them become active and interested in connecting with you.
Practice, practice, practice
Rarely someone is a natural on stage. However, you can become one by practicing as often as possible. In front of the mirror, recording yourself, or pitching to friends and family are methods that help you improve. Should you be swept away by sudden nervousness on stage and your voice sounds shaky to you, don’t panic! The audience will probably not even notice. Stay calm and keep talking.
This all makes sense to you but you still feel you need professional guidance and honest feedback? F10 is there to help, apply for our P2 Prototype to Product program before December 15th, 2017!