In an age where entrepreneurship has become trendy, it is important to know how to stand out. If you have ever attended a pitch competition, you will find that many talented, devoted, and diligent entrepreneurs fail to sell their idea to investors or judges simply because they lack effective communication skills. The body language, content, and enthusiasm you relay during your pitch can make or break your chances of winning a medal or even an investment.
As Bill Gates once wrote, “content is king.” More often than not, your pitch time is extremely limited and it can seem difficult to condense a 20+ page business plan into a five minute presentation but fret no more, it’s possible.
Start your pitch off with a strong hook and move swiftly into storytime. Explain the problem you have identified, how it affects people, and how you plan to solve it. This gives you the chance to explain the consumer or humanitarian demand for your product. Once you have communicated the demand for your product, begin explaining it. How does your product work, how is it unique, and how will you use it to disrupt the industry.
After communicating these elements, make a swift transition into the details of your business plan. Explain who you’re targeting, what success you have had thus far, what your prospects look like, and how you plan to become profitable.
In designing your deck, aim for minimalism. Do not overwhelm your audience with a slide full of text– instead aim for short sentences and pictures. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Also strive to reflect your business’ brand through your slideshows; make your decks reflect your product by avoiding templates.
In writing the script of your pitch, keep in mind the time constraints, depth, and flow of your words. Be concise in your writing and make smooth transitions between different elements of your pitch. Throughout your pitch, it is vital to maintain a consistent tone of enthusiasm. As someone pitching a product to any audience, your primary goal should be to get your audience excited about your product and the only way to do that is to be excited yourself. Avoid a monotone and strive for tone fluctuations, high volume, and hand gestures.
Lastly, be ready for questions. Depending on the setting, your investor or judge may have already gone through your business plan and is ready to hammer you with questions. Know your business plan inside and out, make sure your can back up every item in your business plan, and be confident in your answers.
One of the biggest hurdles to perfecting a pitch happens to be a lack of experience. Public speaking is a common fear among many people, however it is one that slowly subsides with practice and experience. The best way that you can overcome your fears of public speaking is by starting to do so now. Make mistakes while you are young, evaluate each pitch, and fall forward.