As an entrepreneur, you’ll find yourself having to pitch your project on multiple occasions, whether it is to obtain a loan at the bank, to convince a jury in a competition, to find partners, or simply to present your services or products. Pitching is a mandatory step. But fret not! With a well-structured pitch and some training, it will soon become a spontaneous and even satisfying exercise. We’ve assisted dozens of entrepreneurs with this task, and today, we’ll review the ingredients for a successful pitch.
The watchword: being prepared!
Presenting your project in limited time requires copious amounts of preparation. A good pitch can’t be improvised. It must be tailored while bearing the following questions in mind:
What is your intention?
Are you trying to convince an investor, to wow your audience in order to win a competition or to sell to a prospect? What emotions are you trying to convey to your public? And what action do you want your audience to take after hearing your pitch? What is the call-to-action? Subscribing to your newsletter, liking your Facebook page, signing a mandate…?
Who is your audience?
Who is your pitch targeted to (investors, jury, potential buyers…?) What is the most relevant piece of information you want to share with them?
Lastly, in what setting are you giving your pitch?
Pitching on stage in front of 200 spectators and in a meeting room with just 10 people are two different things.
How to articulate your pitch
In these next lines, you’ll find a proposed structure that you can develop and adapt depending on your audience, your objective and the length of your pitch.
A strong hook
It is absolutely crucial for you to catch your audience’s attention from the very first seconds. Engage them with a rhetorical question, tell them about a key market number, share a personal experience, tell an anecdote, etc. Get them on board immediately!
The question being tackled
What issue are you addressing and why is it important to you and your public? Storytelling is an efficient way to get your public to identify to the matter you’re discussing. It is important to draw attention to the “why”, the rationale of your project. Remember that people won’t buy what you’re offering, but why you’re offering it.
The proposed solution
You must provide a specific solution to the problem you initially raised. This part will help your public understand your product or service better. It is also important to explain what makes you stand out and why the audience should resort to your solution. You can also walk potential users through their future experience so that the audience can project themselves and, as a result, identify themselves.
Presenting the entrepreneur
What makes you the most qualified person to develop this project? Highlight your expertise, your skills, your values. Sketch out the future of your organization: share your vision, your ambition and where you want to take your project, even if you’re just starting out. A forward-looking vision will add a positive and convincing note to how you present the development of your activity.
What do you expect from your audience? To get enrolled in your next event, buy something, make a donation, become a volunteer, invest…? When wrapping up your pitch, bring up the main idea again and make your public want to know more and to take action. It is a crucial step to leave a positive impression on your audience.
How to prepare yourself for a successful pitch?
Now that you know how to structure your pitch, it’s time to work on your stance. Keep in mind that only 7% of our communication is conveyed through words. The rest depends on non-verbal elements (our body language, our voice, our tone). Here are some tips to remember:
Don’t use a tone that isn’t yours. Don’t make long and convoluted sentences: you may disorient your public and create confusion. Be authentic and comfortable with what you’re saying! If you emanate authenticity, you will generate engagement in your project.
Be confident and passionate
Trust yourself and be your product/service’s first fan. Be careful not to fall into the trap of being more interested in your product than in your client, though! You know the solution you’re selling better than anybody else, which makes you the most fit to talk about it. Most of the time, the people listening to you are well-intentioned and want to support daring entrepreneurs.
Share your enthusiasm and your passion
If you’re not showing excitement about your project, who will? Share your passion for this project, demonstrate why it’s important to you and, above all, how it will improve the life of its users. Through generating enthusiasm, you will create buy-in. Never lose sight of your deepest motivation, the one that led you to entrepreneurship.
Adopt proper posture
As mentioned previously, communication is largely non-verbal. Think carefully of how you will stand, what outfit you will wear, etc. If you’re feeling nervous, the best strategy is to anchor yourself to the ground instead of gesticulating or hopping from one foot to the other. The same goes for your gestures: hold an object in your hand (something soundless) so as not to make any gesture that could divert the audience’s attention. Regarding your speech flow (speed, rhythm etc.), make sure not to talk to fast, take your time and pause every now and then. Silences are as impactful as words when timed correctly. Eye contact is also very important to build connection with your public.
Practice over and over
One of the key ingredients for a successful pitch is practicing it. It is a skill that is acquired with time, and it’s through rehearsing it and honing it that you will improve and eventually excel at it! You can record yourself in front of a camera in order to visualize your performance, or practice pitching to people close to you that will give you useful feedback. Seize every occasion for pitching that arises! You’ll see that, as time goes by, you’ll start enjoying the exercise.
We’re hoping this article will help you draft your pitch. Stock up on concrete and flexible resources on entrepreneurship here.
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