3 Ingredients for a Successful Pitch
Pitching can be one of the most difficult things to do for a social entrepreneur – it’s an invitation for someone to critique an idea that you’ve spent countless hours developing. On the other hand, it can also be an opportunity to clearly articulate those ideas and bring them to life. While there’s no magic formula for the perfect pitch, most successful pitches have some elements in common.
Communicating Your Branding Identity
Pitching is about introducing someone to a new idea, but what’s even more effective than pitching an idea? Pitching an identity. Often for start-ups, branding is not on top of their list. After all, it’s still just a concept – no one is really going to be looking at logos, typography or designs just yet. But branding involves more than that.
Branding is about establishing who you are as a company, how you refer to yourself and to your clients and what expectations stakeholders should have about your organisation. Learning how to answer these questions beforehand and maintaining that identify throughout your pitch is what differentiates an idea in your head to a reality that potential investors can relate to.
Planting the Questions That You Want to Answer
While being clear and thorough is always important, some entrepreneurs unintentionally invite questions they’re not prepared to answer. Pitching effectively is not just about what you say, but also what you leave out.
Investors will ask questions: even if you have addressed all the interrogations they might have during your pitch, they will still come up with new questions in order to make themselves feel confident they can invest in your ability and business acumen.
Therefore, to keep unexpected questions at bay, try to pitch your idea in a way that covers all bases, but at the same time leaves room for critical questions that you would have already anticipated. Having the ability to answer those critical questions confidently and accurately gives the impression that you are quick on your feet and know all aspects of your business idea inside out.
Leveraging Your Passion
Perception is everything. At the end of the day, even if what you’re pitching is not that compelling for your audience, showing confidence and enthusiasm in your idea is what keeps someone listening.
A great example is the TED talk from Will Stephen who kept an audience engaged for more than 5 minutes talking about… nothing. Absolutely nothing. Yet, his confidence and passion while speaking, his body language and voice tones, made it ‘feel’ like this was something important to listen to.
For many entrepreneurs, especially social entrepreneurs, this confidence and passion are often ingrained within them – but once they have to communicate it to other people it sometimes becomes overpowered by technicalities and information they want to deliver. The best way to keep this passion alive is to practice… and practice some more. Practice in your head, practice in front of a mirror, or better yet, practice with someone else. Observe how different parts of your speech make someone feel and adapt it accordingly to bring your pitch to life in the way that you want it to.