As we've written about before, Capparsa is going through the Tech Wildcatters startup accelerator and it's been one amazing week after another.
An important part of the program has been pitching every week to a room of mentors, investors, and classmates. The first several weeks were focused on the two minute pitch, and now we're working on our five minute pitch with slides.
I am by no means an expert (I don't really believe that anyone should ever be an expert in anything, because there's always more to learn) but I wanted to at least share what I've learned so far, and where I'm at now that we're five weeks into pitching!
So what is it you do, exactly? The biggest thing I've heard is that once you finish your pitch, it's still unclear on exactly what you do. So in one sentence, ideally in the first 15 seconds, you should say something like: "We are ___, we're doing ___ and it's different/awesome/amazing because _____". In that one sentence, you are:
Identifying your and your team [the who]
Talking about what you're doing [the what]
And talking about why you're different [the why/maybe how]
Giving context to the rest of the pitch!
Tell a story. Storytelling is older than writing as a form of communication. This is how legends were born-- stories passed from generation to generation. Human beings are natural storytellers (and thus natural story-listenters). I've found so much more success when my pitch flows naturally, tells a story, and every part is connected to the previous part. I don't forget what I'm going to say next, and I don't have weird unexplained pauses. (You should have pauses, but they should be purposeful). When I've pitched with an unnatural path of what I'm trying to say, I find it so much harder to communicate, and I stumble a lot. This can kill your energy.
Practice, practice, practice. Seriously. Practice helps you an infinite amount. I find myself going over my pitch in the shower, when I'm driving, when I'm talking to a friend, in my head when I'm waiting in line at Starbucks, etc. Pitch to your family members, to your 5 year old nieces, whoever. Just keep doing it. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes. My business partner always says: "If I asked you who you were, you'd be able to tell me easily. Talking about the company should be that easy." She's right--and the way to do it is to just constantly talk about it. The good news is that people love listening to entrepreneurs!
And most importantly, remember to have fun! This is your business and your idea and dream, so have fun with it. If you aren't having fun, why are you doing it??