Pitching might be one of the most daunting tasks for new startups. Presenting your project to potential customers and investors in a form of a pitch demands a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be a bad experience. Read why.

Tell your audience a story

Rule number 1, tell a story. Quite frankly, you probably know this one well. There’s nothing worse than a long (or short) pitch, where the presenter points out pure facts, not necessarily connected to each other and lacking any connection to you.

Think about when you were a kid. You probably loved hearing stories, especially when they involved your little self as the main character. Do you recall the feeling of excitement about what was coming next? Or when you were the hero of a story? If you pitch today, why not incorporate this trick to make the audience feel more special?

Task: map out your existing pitch and think about ways of connecting its parts into a story. It can be a short introduction, or a whole concept.

Things to consider: the story must always be adapted to the audience. If you can, get to know your listeners in advance and create a compelling storyline, with which they can identify themselves. Prepare a pitch they will actually care about. Ask yourself a question, why should they care?

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Choice of words matters

Think of yourself as a student of a completely different field that you know. For example, what exactly would you as a Computer Science graduate understand from Ancient Philosophy? Or the other way round, if you were a Marketing student, would you get anything from a Linear Algebra lecture?

Same applies to your audience. They came to listen to you, so make them satisfied. Tell the story using the right words and if you need to use an industry-specific phrase, explain it briefly. Keep in mind the more complex your vocabulary is, the less chance your audience will stay focused on the pitch.

Task: send your pitch scenario to your friends, who are not in your industry. Ask them, what they understood, and let them suggest any changes.

Things to consider: Always treat your audience with respect. They may not know everything about your industry, which will force you to change your choice of words. Make it easy to understand. Leave jargon to other professionals in the field.

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Remember about the structure

The easiest way to fail at pitching your next best idea is to be chaotic. The audience knows you want to tell everything about your solution and that you have a vast knowledge about it. The problem is, they are not inside your mind and don’t always follow your way of thinking. So instead of piling up series of information, create an easy-to-understand structure of your pitch. If you’re having trouble with planning what to include, you can use our suggestions:

  1. Make your presentation fairly short. 10 slides should be enough.
  2. Don’t overload the slides with text. Include only the necessary information.
  3. Deliver numbers. Your audience wants to see the reality behind your words.
  4. Start with a 1-sentence introduction, where you’ll include your key message.
  5. Describe the problem, the solution, market, and the target group most likely to use your idea.
  6. Show the product/service on an example. It makes it easier to understand the concept.
  7. Tell about your business model, your team, and what exactly you are looking for.

Task: does your outchdeck have a structure? Match the suggested points above with your presentation. If something is missing, add it.

Things to consider: if you believe your pitch deck might be too long, try and cross out half of what you have. Make it pleasant for the audience’s eyes and easy to comprehend. your listeners will often attend more than one pitch, so make sure your visuals are simple and key takeaways can be remembered at a glance.

There’s life after pitch

Once you’re done with the pitch, there is usually a round of questions. Even though few people enjoy it, it is crucial to foresee, what the audience might ask. Keep in mind they take the time to listen to you because they believe there may be room for cooperation. Treat each person with utmost attention and explain things with patience. How you perform after the presentation is often more important, since it puts you in a stressful situation.

What questions can be asked? Most probably ones concerning the points from the previous paragraph, if you forgot to include that information in your pitch. Plus:

  1. What’s your competition? How is your solution different from other companies?
  2. How many clients have you acquired so far? How do you plan to increase the number?
  3. How do you make your estimations?
  4. What’s your experience in the industry?
  5. Have you already received any funding or participated in acceleration/incubation programmes?
  6. So what exactly do you offer? (This question often arises, if a startupper doesn’t take the time to explain the solution in an easy way – make sure you don’t get this question, though)

Task: think of any type of question you may receive and write down the answers. During your presentation you may be asked the exact or similar questions. It’s better to be prepared than stuttering.

Things to consider: Cover as many questions in the visual presentation as you can. This way potential investors or partners will know you are a professional in your field. If all the basic information is delivered, the chances of getting funded are much higher.

What are your tips on pitching? Would you add something to our list?