Why is it so important to know how to deliver a great business pitch? Because a great pitch can bring valuable partnerships to the table - partnerships that come with even more valuable financial incentives. A great business pitch is among the first of many hurdles an entrepreneur must jump to get their company off the ground. While it's not necessarily an indicator of future success, it's a critical moment for any business. And pitching isn’t only for entrepreneurs - it’s for reaching agreement. Agreement can yield many good outcomes including sales, cooperation, and lead to new projects. Here you will find the key elements of a great pitch:
- Be well prepared. Before you get to the meeting, study the CVs and social-media accounts of every participant who will attend the pitch. Then ideally bring your own projector. Bring a spare laptop loaded up with your presentation. Bring an extra VGA and HDMI adapter and don’t forget a copy of your presentation on a USB stick. To feel completely safe, you also may bring printouts of your presentation in case a complete failure of technical devices.
- Set the agenda. When the meeting starts, you should set the frame for the rest of the pitch. Firstly ask, “How much time do I have?” Secondly ask, “What are the three most important questions you want me to answer?” Thirdly, ask, “Would you agree, if I quickly go through my presentation and handle questions at the end?”.
- Speed up the start. Some entrepreneurs believe that a pitch is a narrative whose opening chapter must always be autobiographical and therefore loaded with lot of storytelling. These personal tales are supposed to convince the audience that you are a great team. Meanwhile everyone is wondering, what is this presentation about?
- Apply the 10.20.30 Rule. The 10.20.30 Rule of presentations is that you should use ten slides in twenty minutes with a minimum of thirty-point text. Ten slides force you to consolidate on the absolute essentials. Twenty minutes is because most people can’t concentrate longer. A thirty-point font makes you explain your pitch, not read it in a boring way.
- Let one person be the main speaker. Many entrepreneurs believe that investors invest in teams, so they try to demonstrate teamwork in their pitches. Sometimes you will find four or five employees attend the pitch, and each has a speaking role. This is confusing. Better let the experts wait until it comes to the discussion.
- Why should I care? Imagine there is a little gnome sitting on your shoulder. During the pitch every time you say something, the little gnome would whisper into your ear, “So why should I care?” You should listen to him because the significance of what you’re saying is not always self-evident. Every time you make a statement, imagine the little gnome asks his important question.
- Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse. Familiarity breeds content. When you are totally familiar and comfortable with your presentation you’ll be able to give it most relaxed. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to achieving familiarity - you have to present many, many times.
- Be quiet, take notes, and summarize. The visible act of taking notes means I think you’re smart. You’re saying something important and worth writing down. I’m willing to listen to you. Taking notes provides these benefits, plus the value of the facts that you’re recording. At the end of the meeting, summarize what you heard and play it back in order to test your understanding. Then follow through, within 24h, on all the promises that you made during the discussion and provide additional information.
- Rewrite your pitch. After five or six pitches you better should delete your pitch and start with a clean version. Let this “version 2.0” reflect all lessons learned instead of only being a patchwork quilt.
This BLOG is a tiny part of Guy Kawasaki’s latest book, The Art of the Start 2.0.
, that we highly recommend for all pitchers.