Pitch Perfect - what makes a good pitch?

October 02, 2017

The Pitch Doctor

They look at you expectantly. They are ready to hear your story, to find out who you are and how you want to enrich the world. The timer is set and you stand in the starting blocks. Now the starting signal. Since you only have a few minutes, you try to convey your enthusiasm to the audience as clearly and comprehensibly as possible. You have chosen one person - or two - to represent your mission. Your uniqueness.

Behind every business idea there is a story and a motivation; often due to a problem that you want to solve or a gap that you want to close. But what does it have to do with the audience? Storytelling is the keyword here, because a connection to the other person is made through associations. Of course, these also depend on the type of person you are talking to. Find a common basis and the appropriate way to address them (also in terms of politeness, of course). In most cases, the following applies: "People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel." (Maya Angelou)

In your pitch, it is also important to clarify in clear language, in a structured way and with a common thread: Who are you? What do you want? What problem are you solving and how? What is your product? Who is your customer? Who pays? Finding out the motivation behind a project is very important. Is it about the big numbers, if so, what does the market look like, who are the potential customers? Or are you more interested in the good cause? If you have already developed a prototype or reached a milestone, this is your chance to show off the results.

Aim for your goals in a focussed manner. But great plans should always be in balance with reality. Let your listeners experience this. After all, you also expect credibility from your fellow human beings. It should also be mentioned here that your counterpart wants to see expertise, but wants to understand what you are talking about as quickly and easily as possible. So it's better to explain your product in a way that is simple and understandable for everyone - not too "pompous". Make your choice of words dependent on the "target group" you are pitching to.


This leads us to the topic of authenticity. Because faking always makes itself felt after a while. Be yourself. Of course, you should still pay attention to open body language and speak loudly enough. Speaking of speaking up. Smile, be likeable! 😊 After all, you're not standing in front of hungry lions or enemies, but potential customers, investors, etc. Aren't these positive prerequisites?

Pitch by Julie Soléy at Fire Camp 2017


Why don't you dare to present in a different way - without PowerPoint, for example? "Less is more" works particularly well for short pitches because the audience can concentrate more on you and what you have to say and won't be distracted by too many details. How about using flipcharts, for example? Eye-catchers also attract attention and interest - such as the prototype presentation mentioned above. Depending on the product, you can use the opportunity to appeal to the audience through more senses than just sight and hearing.

Of course, most things in life take practice. Of course, you should also give room for improvisation - for example in the questions that follow. In general, and especially with your weak points, it is always worth practising your pitch beforehand, testing it in front of friends, acquaintances or family and getting feedback. Or how about a recording to see yourself and your impact from the outside? But please don't practise too often, otherwise you'll get stuck and the presentation won't seem free enough and will instead come across as memorised.

Last but not least: You should prepare for subsequent questions in terms of knowledge, strategy and entrepreneurial will - or for the points that you were unable to mention due to a lack of time.

Now once again for encouragement: Be aware that you have achieved something that nobody can take away from you and that you are happy to share with the outside world. Nervousness is normal and part of it (especially at the beginning). Even professionals experience it regularly. You learn to deal with it properly. You can also look at it this way: A little adrenaline even boosts performance.


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Featured photo: Julie Soléy at the Fire Camp 2017 presentation pitch - Photographer: Alexandra Bartelt (innoWerft)