Marc Mcleod Smith (Lightning Lab Auckland) started the night with the provisor ‘we are three weeks in, so some of these pitches are still pretty new’, and if there is something an audience of startups will respect you for, it's pitching an idea to 60 people when you are 3 pivots deep with less than a months experience.
Like any good tale, your pitch inevitably gets better over time. The repetition allows you to settle into a flow, find an ease in your speech, anticipating questions and answering them knowledgeably within the rundown on the who, the what and the why.
While we may not always recommend a hearty libation to loosen up pre-pitch, on our pitch-practice night recently, a Stolen Rum cocktail care of the folks at Previously Unavailable was just the thing to get the chatter happening, the nerves calmed and the tongue loosened.
In light of all this focus on pitch crafting, we thought it best to put together a few (good) tips worth sharing when it comes to the land of the perfect pitch. Have a read and add your own in the comments below.
1) Keep your pitch short
Tip care of Bill Reichert Garage Technology Ventures via Stanford.edu
Like the old adage goes, keep it short and sweet because as Bill says "in the real world, you basically have 20 seconds to get someone engaged or you might as well go home’. Harsh, but true.
2) Do your research
Tip care of Nick Shewring, BizDojo via the BizDojo Youtube Channel
Like you wouldn't go to a job interview without reading up on the company, you shouldn't really go into pitch to someone without knowing a little bit about them. This may mean being well read in general around people in the industry, scrolling through the ‘attending’ list on the meetup, or my personal favourite scanning the ol’ twitter hashtag of an event to see which interesting people are in the room and what they are currently interested in.
3) Be personable, and personal
Tip care of David S. Rose, Angel Investor via his Ted talk
No need to do the ol’ X Factor and break down over your hard life in front of the V.C, but maybe focus more on getting yourself across than the flipchart or the snazzy infographic. Because as good as your idea is, at the end of the day your V.C is giving YOU the money so YOU can execute. This in mind getting across the kind of person you are clearly matters hugely. If you are wondering, this matters equally when there is no money involved, ideas are great, but people crave connection with other people, skip the notecards and make some eye contact.
4) Share that passion
Tip care of Connor Archbold part of the Lightning Lab Auckland Team
Even if its the 70th time you have had that conversation, shared that vision or pitched that exact story - remember it's their first. As Connor says "it's all about your story and hooking the audience in with a passionate vision. And don't forget a call to action!"
5) Clarity! Clarity! Clarity!
Tip care of Adeo Ressi via The Founder Institute
Much like building a house, your pitch should be based on some great, solid and most important CLEAR foundations. Going through the practice of honing your pitch is important, not only to allow you to voice what your business does clearly, but also clarify to yourself what the core purposes and benefits of your offer is. For this getting down to the nitty gritty as fast as possible is a great idea, and to do this why not start with the one line pitch. You do this by filling in the following “my company, _(insert name of company)_, is developing _(a defined offering)_ to help _(a defined audience)_ _(solve a problem)_ with _(secret sauce)_”. Seems simple? It's not, and thankfully Adeo has a sweet video where he explains some of the pitfalls.
Anya is the Brand & Communications Co-ordinator here at GridAKL who is passionate about sharing skills and lessons. If you have a skill you want to share with our GridAKL audience or wish to write about for GridAKL then get in contact with her through our contact page.