This week I had the pleasure of attending Road2WebSummit, the run-up event that has been building momentum for Europe’s biggest Tech-Event.
Amongst the Hotshots, Politicians and Gold-Diggers (I’ll let you decide where I belong on that list), was Web Summit resident pitch-king, Jack Costigan, host of the “How to Pitch” Workshop.
Web Summit sees hundreds of startups come and go, they’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly at their pitch competition, aptly named, PITCH (go figure…). So when Web Summit sent their man to show us the light, I thought this would be something worth sharing.
1. Know your Audience- Tailor your pitch
This is an important one because it informs the shape and tone of your pitch. Your audience may be looking to get different things out of the presentation, they may have different levels of knowledge, and, lets be honest, different levels of interest. You need make sure that you are giving them the information that they want.
Some examples of different audiences might be:
- Startup Competitions
2. Say it and say it early
You need to communicate exactly what you do as as early as you can. If people don’t understand early on, you run the risk of losing people’s attention and when the Q & A comes around first question being: “so what do you actually do?”
3. Keep it Simple
You probably know your company too well and your audience likely knows next to nothing. Your pitch needs to bridge this gap. If it’s a short pitch, Costigan recommends the pyramid technique. The pyramid technique breaks your pitch down into 3 key parts: Unique selling point, Industry and Technology. Each form a point on the pyramid and together they tell your story.
4. Keep slides to a minimum
Slides are important but too many of them and your audience could lose interest. Each slide should have a key message and together these should tell the story of your product and company. Costigan recommends a general rule of 6-12 with a minimal, well-designed appearance.
5. Pitch Q & A- Be prepared
This is not a surprising one but the Q & A separates a good pitch from a brilliant pitch. This is your chance to show you really know your industry and your product. You have likely been living your company for the last year so you should already be an expert- now you have to prepare yourself to show it. If there is something in your pitch that you are unsure of, its probably best to leave it out rather than risk being questioned on it later.
6. Finally, Practise Practise Practise
The most natural pitches are the ones most practised. Even Steve Jobs spent hours rehearing his speeches. Maybe you know the content but the best pitch will be the result of hours of practise and fine tuning.
So there you have it- you have all the pitch knowledge you need to be the next Elon Zuckergates- all you need now is, working product, huge invest, thousands of hours of hard work, a great team and more luck than Irish rabbit playing in a field of four leaf clovers.
Go out there and pitch your heart out!