Is it just me, or does the "elevator pitch" and everything else related to presenting/pitching your buisness idea to potential funders seem to have become so scary and overly complicated?
Good old fashioned doing your homework, preparing a lot and presenting your project/product idea clearly to potential collaborators/funders has evolved into some fast and furious, make it or break it 45-second event which takes place on elevators. Worse yet, these dangerous "pitching" events seem to now take place on TV, infront of either a group of sharks or dragons.
Yes, the competition is fierce and some of the rules of "selling/pitching/presenting" have changed/evolved but, honestly, nothing can take the place of a clear, succinct, well-thoughtout, well-worded, attention getting presentation made by someone who is enthusiastic, confident and competent.
"Pitching” is basically communicating succinctly with the intent to eventually sell something. To be good at pitching your idea, product or project you need to diligently develop your core communication muscles.
It is very difficult to “sell” anything to your audience if you are nervous, unclear or boring. Anxiety, negative beliefs, disorganized thoughts are often the culprits. The good news is that they are all possible to treat.
STEP 1: SELF-AWARENESS THROUGH FEEDBACK
You need to start by getting honest, constructive feedback about your communication and presentation style. What message are you giving to the audience when you speak or when you present your ideas? What is your body language saying? What impression are you making? Do you seem trustworthy and sincere?
STEP 2. CUSTOMIZED DEVELOPMENT PLAN
Next, you need a very specific development plan. What should you do more of (or less of)? You will get the best results if you work with a coach or mentor who can help guide the entire process and model for you good pitching practices. But if you have to go solo try recording yourself on video or get a trusted friend to commit to spending some time giving you their reactions.
Remember this: while it is important that you think your pitch is clear and brilliant, it is more important that the person listening is able to understand and be intrigued by what you are saying.
Small tweaks will make huge improvements in your pitching style. It is just a matter of finding out what you need to do and actually becoming able to do it each and every time.
STEP 3. DESIGNING AND TWEAKING YOUR MESSAGES
Now that you have tweaked yourself, it is time to think about the actual content of your pitch. This step entails doing a bit of analysis and preparation. People skip this part and give generic (uncustomized) presentations/speeches/pitches all the time...drives me nuts.
How much time will you have? How many people will you be presenting to? Who are they? What do they want to hear? Where will you be...in an elevator, a boardroom, on the phone or are you pitching through an email?
Will you be using visual aids like PowerPoint, charts or video OR will you only have your words, voice and gestures to use to seal the deal? Will you tell a story, will you draw a picture or act out a scene? Your audience, context and resources will determine how best to structure what it is you are going to say, the methods of delivery and the words you will use to relay your pitch.
A well-designed, attention grabbing pitch is crucial and this requires some good old fashioned planning, creative thinking and editing.
There many tools you can use to prepare for your big pitch. For example you can use a mind/message map to structure your thoughts which will increase your impact and clarity. Then you can use this map to internalize and memorize your pitch.
Again, it might be a good idea to get help from someone who can help you edit, re-work your presentation, create message maps, develop interesting stories, pick the right words or design your visuals. Etudist Training & Consulting can help. Contact Etudist Training & Consulting to find out how we can perfect your pitch together.
Derya Akalın Uysal, founder of Etudist Training & Consulting.