Tell them that ladies are better presenters!
This post remembers good old times conferences like “Women startup competition 2018 & 2019”. I am reposting an older blog article. Pitching tips are luckily up to date 🙂
Before I went on stage, my other friends (girls) tried to influence my opinions: “Lukas, tell them that of course girls are better presenters and better speakers than men!” Well, I cannot make such claims, but what I can say with totally clear conscience is that women are indeed great storytellers!
Always have been and always will be. It is them who spend time with the kids and keep telling them stuff about life. My grandmother used to tell me the best fairy tales. My mother did as well. And when parents asked my younger sister “Where have you been?” the other night when she came home late from a party, she also had the best made up stories 🙂
I am usually more nervous than are the speakers when I am pitch coaching beforehand. I am standing in the crowd attending Women Startup Competition where women entrepreneurs are presenting their companies. It was a great show, great atmosphere, lots of laughter, clapping, and sparks in their eyes. My friends Pavlína and Jana, who organised the show in Prague (at Impact HUB) asked me to say a few tips “how to pitch better”.
To prepare yourself for a short 2-minutes pitch, keep this in mind:
1) Prepare yourself and get rid of stress triggers
It’s just 2 damn minutes! It’s such a short time that there is no way you can say much information. Many speakers are not used to different time frames. Try for yourself how does it feel to have 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes speech.
Rehearse many times, record yourself, get feedback, talk to people before your pitch, simulate final show like it was real, write script, know what makes you nervous and get rid of it once and for all!
The progress the ladies did overnight was remarkable. Now imagine spending 2 weeks or 1 month rehearsing and preparing in advance. The show would be even a bigger blast!
2) First impressions matter
It’s about the whole experience when you enter the stage. Keep in mind that the audience wants to support you, not the other way around. What you show them and how you make them feel is in your hands!
Make your one shot worth it, start with the drama, show people the real thing, demo your product, get attention, smile a lot, show that you live for your product, make eye contact, tell a story and believe in everything you say.
If you can bring a prop with you on stage which is great, because at that time you become memorable and surely people will remember your show.
3) Have your messages and supporting points ready
Go through the main points that you need to share. You will see that if you write down just a sequence of main points and you read it out loud, you will get to 1 minute easily. Then you have just 1 minute remaining for some story around it.
Know what you want your audience to leave with, give them message they can share, during presentation and Q&A sessions always end up strong with your selling points.
Based on this, it will be easy to pitch no matter the time you have. 20 seconds or 1 hour, it does not matter.
4) One idea per slide per moment
We tend to recycle presentations too much. We end up, on the event where we are supposed to speak, with slides that were designed for sending via e-mail. That is a problem. Result is too much text on the slide and a confused audience. Try to think about every single presentation from scratch and think how visuals could help you.
Make it easy for your listeners and distribute your content wisely, step by step, don`t make them think or read things that are not helpful at the very moment, support your story with on-point visuals, support the emotion you want to grow in their minds and hearts.
The golden rule is to have one message per slide. Not more not less. If you still tend to have bullet points there, at least animate it so that the audience sees only one bullet-point at a time 🙂
5) Save time and always close with the call to action
Setting up your goal wisely is one of the major things to start with. You need to know whether you would like to win such show, get to know investors or convert more customers. If you stick to the highest priority goal, then you can directly ask for it and increase your chances to actually achieve it.
Analyse what your audience does want to hear and stop spending time on things they don’t. Repeat only things that matter. When running out of time, make a summary, wrap the whole thing up and ask anything you need. Activate your audience and tell them what you want them to do afterwards.
Remember now how many times you left the presentation with a strange feeling in your guts that “something is wrong”, that it was not well ended. Always leave in the positive manner.
No matter how much tricky the last question was, leave the stage with the smile on your face and with your key message being the last thing audience would hear.
After all, please build products, build companies, have fun, stay happy and … and tell other people about it on such events and elsewhere!
Edit: I wish there were offline events very soon again.