Yesterday I was at another startup event where three different founders pitched their startup. While speaking in English was difficult for two of the founders and they struggled through the presentation, one thing was common in all of them. Lack of Clarity and Focus. It just happens that a few days earlier I had read some very simple tips that could have helped all of those who were presenting. While you can’t change the past, you can certainly improve the future. Kyoko Takeyama who is a public speaking coach has published an interesting article in Linkedin on how to deal with some unexpected situations. Her article “5 Phrases Great Speakers Would Never Say” covers pretty much most of the blunders that you see in most startup pitch presentations.
Accelerators and Incubators may tell you how to pitch your idea and give you a guideline on how to present your pitch but in most cases, they fail to teach you how to deliver an effective speech. An effective speech must have two elements: Clarity and Focus. Far too often the founder gets lost in the intricate details of how the product works, the huge market, astronomical growth numbers, and clients who will pay millions for their products, whereas all this can be simplified.
Here are a few tips to make sure you can focus:
- Your number one objective is to get them interested.
You don’t need to go into too much details. Details are for later. You are here to plant a seed in their brain, to get them thinking and if you want them to start thinking, you have to provide them with the basic details and then enough space for the seed to start germinating. Basic numbers, basic facts, the concept. Avoid details at all costs. I don’t know the internal working of an electric car, all I know is that it does not use carbon fuel, no toxic gas emissions and that it the electricity can be generated using renewable energy sources.
- Have your details ready.
Now that you have planted that seed, you need to make sure you have the answers ready. If you get them thinking, you will get them interested and interacting. All you need now is to make sure you have the answers ready for the questions you have planted in their mind.
- Be brief and precise.
Time is of essence in pitching sessions. Answer the question, not more. Be brief, give short, precise answers, and always suggest that you can delve into more details after the pitching session.
Simplicity will help create clarity and if you tingle their interest then you will leave them with the sensation of wanting more.