Pitching: When You’re On The Mound
Pitching is something every entrepreneur and small business owner must do at some point. Sometimes, it feels like the forced interaction, the necessary evil before you can get back to your idea and your business. You need to present your passion in a quick, concise way without taking up too much time, but still staying on the target of your message. It can be hard finding the best way to share something so complex.
How can you perfect the art of the pitch? Here are a few suggestions:
Of course this is your dream! Of course you will be enthusiastic! All that enthusiasm is going to spill forth and enlighten everyone! Well, sometimes enthusiasm can make you disjointed and unclear. You’re going to be passionate about your entrepreneurial venture. That’s a big reason why you’re doing it. But, you don’t want to overwhelm anyone you’re pitching to.
2. Show, don’t tell
Take a lesson from writers: show, don’t tell. This sounds contradictory. You’re going to be telling them everything. What I mean here is set up a specific example of a problem and show them how your services can fix that problem. Being vague doesn’t help you.
3. Confidence is key
You don’t want to rehearse your pitch too much. There still needs to be some ease and spontaneity when you’re in front of someone. Plus, if you have something memorized, it often sounds like you’re reciting something that you memorized. Be confident that you know what you’re talking about. This is your idea. No one knows it better than you.
4. Distill your message
While you don’t want to be memorized, you don’t want to be totally unprepared. Try to distill the key elements of your business into one sentence. Screenwriters call this the logline. Here’s an example: A group of scientists must survive a theme park after the dinosaur exhibits escape from their enclosures. Jurassic Park, right? Now, I didn’t give you the whole movie in that sentence, but the concept and ideas are clear.
5. Leave them wanting more
Like in the Jurassic Park example, you want there to be room for questions. That means people are engaged. This gives you an opportunity to expand on all the great plans you have for your future. If you leave them without questions, you limit the engagement.
A few quick things: numbers can always help, but don’t use so many statistics, you leave them confused.
Knowing your target demographic is always a plus.
Don’t be too self-deprecating. If you have experience and expertise, you can let those shine through.
Pitches are nerve-wracking and difficult, but if you go in with an open mind and some flexibility, you can make it out okay.
What are your pitch tips? Has something worked for you? Has anything failed? Share in the comments below!