So, you just landed a pitching opportunity - Congrats!
As a startup, this is your chance to pitch and receive funding to keep growing. How should you prepare for pitching and what are the most important things that you should know beforehand? Here is a list of tips we learned over the years and through our experiences with entrepreneurs and investors.
1. First impressions
First things first, you need to make a good first impression. Based on a Princeton University study, people make judgments on attractiveness, likability, and trustworthiness within a fraction of a second after seeing someone. So, how can you make a good first impression? Be on time, remember the importance of a smile, make appropriate eye contact, dress neatly and appropriately, be empathetic, and act confidently.
2. Use cognitive ease
Our brains love the familiarity effect. Unconsciously, we give preference to things and people we are familiar with. So, use cognitive ease to your advantage by using simple language and concepts that are easy to understand. Make sure the text is clear, use high-contrast visuals to convey a message, and most importantly, pick names and phrases that are easy to pronounce and remember. Cognitive ease makes it easier to approach your target audience (the investors) and reach them. Make the best out of it.
3. Sell the idea before you sell the work
Peter Coughter, in The Art of the Pitch: Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business puts it like this: “The secret to selling great work is to sell the idea of the work before you sell the work.” Start by selling the idea by summarizing the essential points and giving a teaser of what’s to come. Share a catchy headline with your audience.
4. Use structure
Give your pitch and presentation a structure so it feels like you are taking your audience on a journey. Cover every slide in a structured way with an opening and closing fact, clear titles, and let the presentation flow naturally.
5. Be detailed about your revenue models
Show as many details as possible about your revenue model and how their investment in your company will generate profit for them. They want to know how you will make them money. Detail what investment you are looking for and how you intend to use the funds you will receive.
6. Pitch with the right tone of voice
Pitch with the right tones of voice to create an atmosphere and feeling of “passion”. You will be working with the subliminal part of the investors’ understanding by facilitating conscious processing of related information and boosting their motivation. Use the right tone of voice to your advantage by highlighting the most important parts of your pitch by slightly strengthening your tone and avoiding being monotonous.
7. Stay focused on your vision
Stay focused on “why” you are doing what you are doing. Don’t forget why you started all of it! People are moved when they see honesty, transparency, and passion. Be confident about your vision.
Keep in mind that you will have many pitches and that you will have plenty of time to practice. Every pitch you make is an opportunity to further enhance your pitch deck presentation and the way you pitch. Make sure you take the investors’ comments with an open mind and incorporate these comments in your future pitches.