How to pitch in public
What to do before, during, and after the pitch to maximize your likelihood for a successful night.
Welcome to my final post of the three-part, Business Planning blog series. In part one, I explored value propositions. In part two, I covered sizing your market. In this post, its all about the pitch! Particularly how to pitch when you’re at an open pitching event like the one we host for the final evening of our Venture Validation Program (VVP). In this post I’ll cover what to do before, during, and after the pitch to maximize your likelihood for a successful night.
The real work for a good pitch starts long before the night of the event. Every step you take forward with your business develops the story of your opportunity. The hard work isn’t preparing the pitch, it’s moving the business forward. The closer your get to revenue, or partnerships, or having a product in the market, the better your story is. That is the real work. Staying constantly up to date on what your customers need, want, and expect, what your competition is doing, and where your industry is going, that is the hard work. When it comes time to make a pitch if you’ve done the hard work, preparing a pitch will be easy. If you haven’t done the heavy lifting, your pitch is going to feel fabricated and unauthentic. If you haven’t you and everyone in the room will know you’re pretending. Do the hard work, so when it comes time to pitch you can be excited to share your knowledge.
Pitching isn’t natural to everyone. You don’t need to be a captivating storyteller to be a great entrepreneur. However, you should be able to stand up with confidence and speak knowledgably about your business. While pitching there are things you should avoid doing to set yourself up for success. Resist the urge to move around. If you’re nervous you can center your body’s nervous energy by taking a deep breath before going on stage and then again immediately before speaking. Another big no-no is announcing your nervousness. Don’t tamper expectations by telling everyone how nervous you are. By doing this you’re saying, please don’t listen to the merit of my pitch, rather focus your attention on my nervous ticks. If you’re this focused on how nervous you are than you’re not focused on the pitch itself. You need to be focused on the task, not your emotions about the task to be mentally prepared to succeed. Finally, don’t memorize your pitch. When you memorize a pitch two things can go wrong. One, it just doesn’t feel authentic. Two, if you stumble on a sentence you have the potential to derail your entire pitch. Next thing you know you’re thinking about the one-liner you missed on slide two and not on delivering the key message. Instead of memorizing have key messages and let them flow however they do. Trust me if you did the hard work, the message will flow better than you could have scripted.
The pitch is over, the audience cheered, and none of the judges imploded your idea. Relief sets in. It’s natural and you deserve to feel a mixture of pride and relief. You’ve just completed the pitch, you’ve probably been working on this for weeks, even months. However, the best entrepreneurs don’t stop there. The best entrepreneurs take advantage of the opportunity after the pitch to form meaningful connections. Every person in the room knows you! It would be a huge wasted opportunity not to work the room and find out who can help you move forward. You should be introducing yourself to as many people as possible figuring out who can connect you to partnerships, customers, or funding. When you’re not mid conversation be socially available. Don’t spend the rest of your night with your one pitch buddy. You never know when you’re going to make that key connection.
If you love pitching, as an entrepreneur you’ll have plenty of opportunities. If you hate pitching, well, I would say it’s a necessary evil. You should learn to love it. If you want to refine your pitch, develop your business opportunity, and conqueror pitch night, sign up for our upcoming cohort of the Venture Validation Program starting September 18th.
For more information on VVP, how to join, or what other learning is involved, contact Dakota@EDGSJ.com or check our website,https://edgsj.com/en/entrepreneur-development#starting-a-business