Pitching: Some Simple Advice

As we come up on our November 23rd Investor Demo Day  in Bangalore (edupreneursdd.eventbrite.com) and all our Edupreneurs are working on their final pitches, I’ve also been thinking about effective messaging.  When you get down to it, pitching a business is all about effective communication.  In my career as a student, my time in the Silicon Valley Export Assistance Center, and now as a market scout, I’ve seen my fair share of pitches, presentations and demos.  A few tips to make sure your message gets across in a way that’s friendly to the listener. 

#1 Slides are for visuals, not text

As a presenter, you are supposed to give the listener the information they need- in words from your mouth.  Technology is for visuals: photos, graphs, charts, and timelines only.  For examples of great presentation style with proper use of visual aids, watch a TED talk.  They have it down to a science, plus you’ll learn something cool.

If you’re going to read your slides, what’s the point of presenting?  Any slide deck with all the presentation content on it is ONLY for the purpose of email correspondence (though I’d personally prefer an interesting 3 minute video to a slide deck- but that’s personal preference, not industry standard).  Please do not use the email slide deck for live presentations. 


This leads me to #2… Know your stuff and be confident

A simple concept, but many people overlook the importance of practice.  Practice the presentation and know the answers to FAQs about your product.  If you can rattle stats off the top of your head without looking at the slides, even better. 

#3 Brevity

The point of the pitch is to make investors curious enough to have a follow-up conversation.  Hit all the important parts of your business in a pitch and make sure you’ve put the time in to understand what’s critical and what’s not.  A great mind once said, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” So true.  Put the time in.