Short pitching is all the rage with one, two and three minute pitches the norm at startup events. You rarely see companies given more than 10 minutes to present their company. Inevitably you are there with 10-50 other participants trying to make an impact. I have been giving this advice out to companies for a while now so it seemed a appropriate to whack it into a short blog post.
- Entertain me: I’m bored. The panel has been companies trot out fomulaic pitches all day long. Tell a story, demonstrate enthusiasm, joy, laughter. Make sure you don’t sound or look bored, or disenchanted. You’d be surprised how many founders leak those emotions in pitches.
- Three Messages: Think of three things you want me to remember and hit me with those. Nothing else.
- Your deck: You deck is just there as an adjunct to your presence. Single words, pictures or clearly articulated, defensible killer stats that no one else has.
- Finish With A Flourish: Make sure they remember you as well at the end as at the start.
What not to do:
- No Financials: If you are profitable say it, if you are experiencing 200% month on month viral growth say it. Don’t drown people in spreadsheets.
- No Reading: Regurgitation of blocks of on screen text is a waste of everyone’s time.
- Running out of Time: Practice your timing, not hitting your mark makes you look like an idiot.
- Rushing: Don’t try and do your standard 15 minute VC deck in three minutes.
- Double headers: One speaker. This “and now my CTO will tell you about…” looks like insecurity and ego mania.
- Demos: It will break, you will look lame.
- Videos: If I wanted to watch a video, I’d be back in my hotel room.
You goal is to leave them wanting more…