StoriesTips & tricks16 February 20215 min

#WisdomWednesday: how to deliver the perfect digital pitch

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Rather than slowing down entrepreneurs, corona seems to have inspired more innovation than ever. Because we’re still social distancing, these bright ideas are going to have to be pitched innovatively too. With the new Start it @KBC application round in full swing, this #WisdomWednesday we want to give you some pointers on how to pitch to impress, digital style:

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#1 Make your pitch video proof

There’s no doubt that pitching digitally isn’t quite the same as in-person pitching. The disadvantage: less interaction, and the threat of technical mishaps. The advantage: the chance to practice and tweak everything beforehand! To make sure your digital pitch goes off without a hitch, keep the following things in mind:

· Avoid technical glitches: try out the video conference tool if you’ve never used it before. Invite your team members to a video conference ahead of time so you can all get the hang of it and optimise how you present yourselves. Make sure your internet connection is invincible and test the audio.

· Tweak the visuals: play with the lighting and camera angles, and do run-through with your pitching clothes on to make sure your A-team are all looking great on the screen. Record it and keep polishing it till it shines!

· Prepare your environment: get rid of distracting or embarrassing background items, make sure there’s no background noise, turn off all your devices, and make a plan to keep your kids and pets out of the way (unless these are part of your presentation, in which case by all means include them).

· Stand up for yourself: by which we mean literally stand up to add dynamism to your pitch. Make sure your camera is zoomed out so we don’t get any awkward headless action.

#2 Share your story

So we see you are a nice-looking bunch with some nifty slides: but what’s your story? Don’t forget the jury is made up of flesh-and-blood human beings, and they are suckers for a great startup tale.

So who are the main characters? What is the plot? Who is the hero? Create a picture of where your idea came from (did you have an aha moment after falling off your bike? An epiphany while brushing your teeth?), what problem you were determined to solve, and what inspired you to solve it this way. Give it some colour and create a narrative that is engaging, unique and memorable.

Don’t forget that there are two participants in every story: the storyteller and the listener. Read your audience’s reaction, and try to interact as much as possible. This is the toughest part of doing it digitally, which is why it’s good to check in with your audience once in a while to make sure they’re still with you.

#3 Tell it like a PRO

As fascinating as your ideas are, your tale should be a short story, not a novel. At Start it @KBC we’re big fans of the PRO model by communication psychology leader Body Talk. The PRO model stands for the following four steps:

Problem: briefly describe the problem that your product or service helped solve. Explain the pain point using a real-life example.

Promise: state your company’s value proposition with a bold statement on what you’re going to do about the problem.

Process: explain how you are going to go about reaching your goals.

Proof: show some evidence to back up your approach.

Proposal: finish up with a simple proposal or call-to-action.

It’s as simple as that: don’t pad it with blah-blah!

#4 Do your homework

Of course giving a successful pitch has to be more than just a great story. You’ve got to back it up with some hard facts (the “proof” mentioned above). So tell us this:

· How is your startup a game changer? We can’t just take your word for it: include some well-sourced statistics, calculations and arguments about why you are different. Explain the larger trends in the industry and how you are playing into them.

· What is your go-to market strategy? Show how well you know your market, and explain what your launch strategy is. Know who the competition is and how you plan to position yourself.

· What if there is no market? Explain how you are going to create one, and give solid arguments and evidence for the potential for one to be unlocked.

Maybe you have some questions you want to ask the jury as well: have your notes ready!

#5 Be confident

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everybody, so the fact that you chose this path means you’ve got a vision: now the trick is to share it. Before you present to an audience, take some time to reflect on what really drives you. This will give you the magic ingredient to win over others: conviction. Realising that you’ve got a great idea, solid evidence, and a fantastic team will fill you with the kind of contagious enthusiasm great pitches inspire. So own your story, go forth and be confident.

One thing you have going for you here: you are on your own turf. The traditional live pitch can feel a little bit like facing an interrogation panel, while pitching from your living room helps level the field and put you at ease. Another thing that helps soothe the pitching jitters: practice, practice, practice. No need to swagger like you’re all that: just the right amount of calm confidence will do. Believe in yourself, and show us what you’ve got!

Ready to wow us with your amazing idea? You’ve got until March 1 to sign up for our next pitch wave!