The reason why most people dislike giving presentations (such as your startup pitch), is because they aren’t any good at it! Thankfully, there are some tips that you can implement fairly quickly to step up your game.
You need to show some energy during your presentation. Your audience will make a very quick judgment call as to whether they want to listen to this presentation or merely be present while they check their emails on their iPhones. Your pitch is not a conversation at a cocktail party; use your hands, project your voice, have some movement, add variety to your tone and appear to be excited about your product or service by acting animated.
2. Structure a Story
You should structure your pitch in the form of a story with a beginning, middle and end. The beginning brings your product to life and excited the audience for the rest of the story to come. Think, opening action seen of a James Bond movie. The middle provides the plot and supporting evidence: what is the problem, who are the bad guys and how does the hero solve the problem. The ending builds on the beginning and middle of the story with a climactic action scene that brings closure to the story and leaves the audience feeling utterly satisfied.
3. Be Memorable
Your investors will likely have seen tens if not hundreds of pitches in their career. Your goal is not end up as another forgotten entrepreneur whose business plan made it to the trash. However, keep in mind, your main goal is to show your audience that you are able to make this business a success. As a result, humor, self-deprecation and unprofessionalism is not the name of the game. It can be subtle, such as a powerful image in your deck or unique structure to your presentation.
4. Know Your Audience
The more you know about your audience, the more you can use it to your advantage. If the majority have kids, have advanced degrees or enjoy sports, you can incorporate these pieces of knowledge into your presentation to establish common ground and likability. You will also want to think hard about your audience’s pain points. What is that they need you to answer in order to achieve your desired outcome? What is it that they don’t want to hear that will send them running for the hills?
5. Keep It Simple
Don’t confuse your audience by providing them with every last detail of your product or service. Give your audience the essentials what you want to convey and why it matters. Use as few words as possible to still get your message across. It is OK to use facts and figures in your presentation, but only if these numbers help you to tell your story in a compelling way.
6. Keep Your Pitch Deck Visual
You want your audience’s attention on you. They are investing in you and not your pitch deck. The more time they are spent trying to read a spall sentence on your slide, the less time they are focusing on you. You can provide two version of your presentation: one with a lot of detail that can be left behind as a takeaway or emailed, and one with mostly images and key takeaways that support the message you are delivering at that point in time.
7. Practice, Practice, Practice
It is all too apparent when someone has not prepared. You should know your presentation in and out. Furthermore, you should be prepared to answer questions that are not provided in your presentation. In fact, it is a good rule of thumb to have backup slides ready to help you answer questions that you anticipate the audience asking. Not only will this help you to answer the question, but it will show your commitment and that you came prepared.
8. Stick to the Time Frame
If you have been giving a time frame for your presentation, stick to it. You can even plan on going under and leaving time for questions. Your presentation will always go longer than you anticipated, and if you end early, your audience won’t mind a bit.
9. Demo and Remote Control
If you have a demo, have someone else deliver the demo. The last thing you need is the confusion of operating your demo while trying to remember your talking points. Additionally, plan on investing in a remote control to change from slide to slide if you do not already own one.
Before moving on from each slide or each major point that you are trying to make, be sure to summarize the key takeaway. This not only helps to provide a clear transition and signals the audience that you are moving on, but it helps drive the point across.
If you are not already doing so, start working these 10 tips into your pitch strategy to step up your game.