What’s the secret to a winning pitch? Take a deep breath and read on…
It’s an unavoidable fact that startups have to pitch. The success and failure of a business in its early days lie within the entrepreneur’s ability to persuade others, whether its investors or customers. While public speaking might not be a natural skill for some, it is not un-trainable. Below are some tips to help you prepare for your next pitch presentation.
1. A Tale of Your Passion
“Today, if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you also have to be a good storyteller”
– Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group
In the ever-growing competitive landscape of entrepreneurship, investors now look for the purpose behind a business idea. They want to know WHY you want to do this business. Tell a story about your journey and experiences, what kind of challenges you saw, and the struggles you’re facing or notice in the community.
Allow your audience to get to know you, as the only way you can connect with other, is by being human. Acknowledge your flaws and weaknesses, and your desire to overcome those within you and your community. It provides colour and personality to your business, making it easier for a community to be built around it.
2. The “Motivational Format”
Neuroscience finds that our brain loves stories, it releases chemical associated with emotional bonding and attention. A good story, thus, captures both heart and minds of the audience, which eventually leads people to strongly identify with certain person’s beliefs and ideology. The most effective story, however, are those filled with “arc” and “growth”.
In our case, it’s a storyline that takes the audiences from What, to Why and finally, to How.
- What – What is the problem that needs to be solved?
- Why – What does it looks like if we solve the problem – the new bliss?
- How – In what way can your idea, namely the product/service, can take us to the new bliss?
Finally, close your story with a call to action – what you need from the audience, whether it’s funding or to purchase your product.
3. Know Your Audience
For any public speaking, your number one goal is always to connect with the audience. No matter how prepared or well versed you are with the topic at hand, there’s no point if your audience doesn’t get it. As they say: failing to prepare, is preparing to fail.
Get to know your audience beforehand, research the event you’re speaking at, look for the demographics of the event attendees, get a measure of your audience’s awareness of the topic. The way you addressed the topic of Online Shopping for a group of Gen Y vastly differs with how you explained it to a room full of seniors.
Pay attention as well to the level of details you need to put into your pitch. For an audience with no prior awareness of the topic, delving into too much detail will only lead them to confusion. Tailor the amount of information you show appropriately towards the audience, and more importantly, keep it simple whenever possible.
4. Eye Contact
“You’re not speaking at them, you’re speaking with them.”
– Simon Sinek, 3rd most-watched TED Talks Presenter of all time
Eye contact is the most effective way to create connection and establish rapport with your audience. It enhances your persuasive power and creates a stronger presence in the audience mind to maintain their attention toward your pitch. While speaking to a large audience, it’s important to look directly at specific audience members one at a time. Though you seem to be looking at everyone, scanning the room actually creates a disconnection with the audience as none of them felt a true conversation with you.
If you would like to receive professional coaching, we have a TEDx-ready trainer that you should speak to. Contact Emma House for details.