As an entrepreneur, you may find yourself in the perfect opportunity with the perfect investor, customer, advocate when you least expect it.
Chatting with someone at the gym. Meeting friends at a bar. Hanging out at your local co-working space. Sometimes the best networking opportunities don’t happen at official networking events. And you always need to be prepared for the opportunities that present themselves.
Benefits of a Prepared Pitch
A well-prepared pitch is one of the most powerful tools in an entrepreneur’s arsenals. A pitch, elevator speech, or any other prepared presentation that you know cold can help you sell your idea and business to any audience you may find yourself in front of.
The process of working on your pitch can also be helpful. When you have to whittle down your idea, why it’s needed, and how it can help to the barest of bones, you will begin to see how to frame its selling points so they have the most impact on your audience. It also helps you become comfortable talking about it in clear, concise, and compelling language.
Finally, you never know who you’re going to meet or where you will meet them. You could meet your ideal investor in line at your local coffee shop or the perfect avatar at the dog park. Being prepared to quickly and powerfully tell your story can help you be prepared no matter what.
How to Nail Your Pitch
If you are nervous about pitching yourself or your business or haven’t developed your pitch yet, not to worry. There are five easy steps that you can follow to ensure that you are prepared whenever and wherever you get the opportunity.
The first step is to clearly define the problem and solution. Your audience needs to know, believe, and understand that there is a problem. If they don’t know, believe, or understand the problem, they are not going to buy into the solution that you are proposing. Once you’ve established the problem, be clear and compelling about why your solution is the perfect one for the stated problem.
Next, be passionate about your idea or business. If you aren’t passionate about your idea, you shouldn’t expect the people you are pitching to be passionate about it either. Be sure that you are conveying that passion as you pitch. Avoid a monotone voice. Don’t be afraid to show everyone how excited you are about your project. With any luck, that excitement will be contagious.
Then, work hard on your delivery. Practice different ways of presenting. Experiment with different voice intonations, different turns of phrase, different places of emphasis. Record each variation to see which one is the most powerful. Pacing is a key part of your pitch. Be sure to slow down at the key parts to ensure that the audience picks up on the important parts. Another important part of the delivery is eye contact. Making eye contact with your audience is a great way to make it seem like you are talking to each of them individually.
You also need to know your audience. Your audience is the most important part of the pitch and, as such, you should be tailoring your delivery to each specific audience. If it’s a business plan competition, tailor your delivery to the judging criteria. If it’s an investor pitch, focus on issues that are important to the group of investors and what they may gain from their investment. If it is a sales pitch, tailor it to your value proposition for the customer. There is no one size fits all pitch presentation.
When you’re in a spontaneous pitch situation, it’s a great idea to have a standard elevator speech prepared that you can tailor for your unique location and audience.
Finally, practice, practice, practice. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become. The more comfortable you become with your pitch, the easier it will be to give. When you’re comfortable with your points and with your delivery, you will be the most effective presenter you can be.
When you have a powerful pitch and know it cold, you are a formidable force for your business. You will be prepared to sell your idea whenever called upon, even if you didn’t think you had a pitch that day. It’s not as hard as you think to be this prepared. All it takes is a little time, a little effort, and a lot of patience and you too can be ready to change the world with your powerful pitching skills.