Pitching for Success

There’s a lot of misconceptions about pitching. When most people think of pitching, they think of Shark Tank. But pitching is so much more than that and like many aspects of entrepreneur life, it’s a valuable skill that takes time to perfect.

So what is pitching and why is it important? Pitching is important as it enables you to have meaningful conversations. These conversations could be with investors, partners, sponsors, customers or even suppliers. Pitches can come in all shapes and sizes. As an entrepreneur, you should have a few formats up your sleeve to help you when opportunities come knocking:

  • 30 second teaser pitch to be used at networking events

  • 5 minute pitch deck/slides to be used at most public pitch events

  • 10 to 20 minute pitch deck/slides to be used when pitching investors.

There’s a few elements that make up a good pitch:

  1. It has a clear structure. Typically pitches follow a set structure of content which includes the problem you’re solving, your idea and how it uniquely solves the problem, your revenue model, the market opportunity for your business, how you stack up against competitors, your team and skillsets, your future plans and your ask (what you want from the people you’re pitching to).

  2. It’s about you, not your slides. Often, people try to cram as much text as they can into their accompanying slides, usually so they can use these as a prompt. Pitch slides should mainly be graphics that supplement your presentation, not distract people from what you’re saying. Guy Kawasaki has a great rule of thumb for pitch slides – for a 20 minute pitch, you should have no more than 10 slides, with a minimum font size of 30. Check out some great pitch deck examples here.

  3. You think about your physical and verbal cues as much as your content. There’s a study by the University of Pennsylvania that shows that the majority of communication is transmitted non-verbally. 70% of communication is body language, 23% is voice tone and inflection. This means only 7% is your spoken words! You need to take this into account when you’re pitching – how are you verbally and physically presenting yourself to ensure you’re being seen as confident and capable. This can include your posture, your gesturing, where or who you look at, your tone or pace of speech. For anyone wanting to boost their skills in this area, take a read of The Credibility Code – it’s an amazing resource.

 

On June 22, 40 local startups will be giving pitching their best go in front of a 300 person audience. If you want to see how pitching is done, or support the brave souls giving it a crack, come along to the West Gippsland Art Centre at 6pm. You can reserve your complimentary tickets here. Tickets include drinks and canapes!