10 key pitching tips for future success…
As a start-up, over the next 12 months, you will be involved in high pressure ‘pitch’ competitions, Whether your pitch needs to be 1 minute, 5 minutes or 20 minutes, it is crucial that you get it right ‘first time’ if you want to succeed.
Having been a judge on numerous competitions, I have seen many pitches fail, not because the tech wasn’t right, but due to small errors occurring (eg. pitch running over time, videos not working on the day, formatting on the slides different to what was originally submitted). Unfortunately, these small inconveniences, can be THE difference between success and failure on the day.
To ensure that you don’t make the same mistake as others before you, please find detailed below 10 key ‘pitching tips’ for future success:
- Check the tech: ahead of your pitch, check that your presentation appears correct on the main screen (correct fonts, correct colours etc). Also, check in advance that all videos run ok and that there is clear sound. These early checks can feel that they are ‘time sappers’, but you don’t want your pitch to be remembered for the wrong reasons (ie. the pitch where the slides were all over the place and there was no sound on the video)
- Practice: don’t think that you can wing-it, you need to practice, practice, practice until you can present within the chosen time in your sleep. Amateur, off the cuff, unpractised presentations rise to the surface almost straight away – very easy to spot.
- Present to time: if you have 3 minutes to present, keep to 3 minutes, running slightly over may seem cheeky and opportunist, but some judges don’t look at this in such a positive way – not worth taking the chance.
- Ensure understanding the main objective of your pitch is for people to UNDERSTAND and feel excited about you and your tech. If achieved, the questions afterwards will be a lot more positive and re-assuring. In contrast, if you are asked to explain your tech again, your pitch, unfortunately, didn’t hit the mark
- Use video: If you only have a few minutes to present, a short, sharp and snappy video explaining your product will really help engage the audience (and the judges) and also potentially separate you out from the competition?
- Be yourself: don’t worry about how other people present – you can’t change that. It is always best to be yourself. Yes, you need to be engaging and clear in your pitch, but do it in a way that is you – people need to feel that what they see is what they get.
- Answer questions succinctly: a common mistake. If a judge asks you a question, provide an answer, don’t waffle on for a few minutes hoping to kill time and somehow provide a kind of an answer to the question. Judges can see through this, trust me.
- Enjoy yourself and smile. Take my word for it, pitching is more exciting and rewarding than sitting behind a desk all day! Try and enjoy the experience and always smile and look happy – people gravitate towards happy people.
- Take learnings forward to the next competition: this is crucial. You can’t win them all, but you can continuously improve and subsequently improve your win ratio for the future
- Write a blog about your experience. Turn your experience into content. Just like I am doing now, share your experience with others – your perspective on an event is unique and should be shared.
Fingers crossed and good luck for your forthcoming coming year of pitch competitions!