Let’s Get Digital: 5 tips on how to pitch digitally
At Start it @KBC, we came across a tough challenge with regard to our pitch days. Since our founders’ health is priority number one for us, there was no way we could do our pitch days the same way we were used to. It’s just not okay to bring together a lot of people in the same space today. But as you know, we’re founder-centric. And since we work, live and breathe for our founders, we had to find a way to make our pitch days happen. Because not helping startup founders and onboarding them in our program was not an option. And frankly, giving in is simply not our style.
We hereby present to you (drumroll): our 2020 DITCHITAL DAYS (Digital Pitch Days).
So… What does this mean for you? Pitch online of course! But more importantly… How can YOU prepare to pitch differently and digitally? We understand that this can be a scary premise. FEAR NOT! At Start it @KBC we’ve got your backs -> allow us to present some hacks. We want you to embrace this concern and turn it into an opportunity applying your creativity and resourcefulness (major skills we look for in founders). Think of this as your first “business obstacle” and show us how you can make this work for you.
Here’s a list of five major differences between pitching your startup in person to a live jury versus pitching in front of a computer.
1. Digital Pitching is less forgiving
Got a nice smile? Booming excitement? That je-ne-sais-quoi? Muster up all the charm you have inside you -- eat your favorite food and drink your favorite drink before going online. Oh, and wear your lucky shirt (pro tip: you can wear pyjama bottoms and house shoes. Just make sure you don’t step too far back when you do that and reveal your entire outfit to the jury). However, it’s gonna take more than this for DITCHITAL DAYS. You see, the jury will witness your expressions in a different way than the traditional live pitch. You have to engage the jury in a different way. Practice in front of the mirror or practice on a Google Hangout with a persuasive friend who can give you tips. Practically, this will help you master your verbal and non-verbal cues so that you come across sincerely. The next week or two will give you time to polish those skills in the comfort of your own home -- try to make the best out of any situation, that’s what entrepreneurs do.
2. Outguess (and Reassess) to Impress
Traditional pitching involves you being lined up back-to-back with up to 25 others who try hard to stand out in the same often-fatiguing environment. Online, you create the environment. You can make yourself memorable by staging a very cool and creative background that reinforces your vision. You can pitch from your backyard, while sky-diving, or from …. (while we absolutely recommend following government regulations at this time)
3. You’re on your own turf
Some people might find this a tad more relaxing: you are on your turf. On a certain level, this creates a psychological feeling of being “leveled” with your jury. You’re not walking into their turf. You’re both on your own terrain. But don’t go and get all cocky on us, that would be taking it too far. Just the right amount of confidence will do perfectly. Find your zone, stay in it and go for it!
4. Opportunity to practice
They say you never get another chance to make a first impression. Well, not when you’re videotaping your first impression! While we would hope you always practice your pitch, now you have the opportunity of practicing it in the exact location you’ll be delivering it. We recommend that you “virtually gather” your team (during this period where we’re all perfecting our virtual connective skills anyway) and record yourself. Play it back and look at your expressions. Do it a few times! Take a cold shower and try it again! Take a hot shower and do it again! Rewire your brain as you get the direct feedback of how you come off to yourself and to a friend you trust. This'll help you hone as to how you come off to a jury rather than taking one sometimes-nervous live shot at it.
5. Some last practical tips
Make sure you check the lighting in the room, and avoid distractions of any sorts: double-check there’s no background noise, turn off your notifications on any devices, and get a babysitter for your kids and pets, unless you want to use them as props in your pitch (did we already mention that we love to be surprised?). Attach post-it’s to your laptop with keywords or questions you want to ask the jury. Keep a glass of water next to you and practice story-telling in a PRO-model (problem, promise, process, proof, proposal). Lastly, don’t forget to smile; the jury can feel your enthusiasm through the computer.
We hope these tips will help you develop your skills. The reason you and your team are startuppers is because you’re going to change the status-quo and you know it -- now you need to CONVEY IT. Our coronavirus quarantine is a time in which we’re all forced to move from the “active life” to a “contemplative life.” When life gives you lemons, you don't just make lemonade, but you use the seeds to grow an orchard and franchise it! Transform this negative moment of “forced isolation” into a positive moment of “forced contemplation.” Contemplation, honing, and practicing, will all help you find your voice, and your voice is your vision that you need to share with the jury! So share it loud and proud.
Need any more help? Join our webinar on pitching digitally on Friday March 20th at 16h!