Pitching your ideas is intimidating, hands down. No matter how awesome your idea is or how confident you are about it, it’s not always easy to share it with other people.
You’ve probably spent invested a decent amount of time on research and development, so subjecting your “baby” to the criticism of others? It’s tough.
But like filing your taxes and visiting the dentist, everyone has to do it eventually. Here are 6 things that will help you get in the right mindset when you’re pitching your ideas.
1. Prepare And Anticipate
You’ve already prepared your presentation...but have you thought about what might follow afterwards? Try to think of things your audience might ask you. If you can anticipate the various questions, you’ll be better prepared to deliver a thoughtful response instead of frantically trying to think straight on the spot. If you’re pitching with composure, confidence, and knowledge, it sets up the same tone for your work moving forward.
2. Research Your Audience
Always, always, always know your audience! It doesn’t matter if you’re giving a speech, going to a networking event, or pitching an idea. You have a major leg up when you know who you’ll be presenting to beforehand. It gives you the chance to study up on their backgrounds, appeal to their specific interests and, going back to the first point, get a pretty good idea of the kind of questions they might ask.
3. Learn The Lingo
While you should still be yourself, you want to present a more polished version, and that includes being knowledgeable about whatever you’re pitching. You don’t have to be a walking dictionary and memorize all of the jargon but it’ll definitely help to be familiar with both standard business terminology and words specific to your industry. Still not sure what people mean when they mention “ROI”, “P&L”, and “KPIs”? Study up so you’re not stumped when they come up in conversation.
4. Less Is More
Listen to Albert Einstein: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
You should be able to clearly explain your idea in the span of an elevator pitch. That means 30-60 seconds, not 20 minutes. Once you’ve laid out the idea, then feel free to spend a few minutes elaborating to explain the how or why. But if it takes you half an hour just to explain the concept? It’s a good indication that you need to rethink your pitch and angle.
5. Tell A Story, Not A Lecture
A pitch is easier in that there’s more flexibility since it’s not your normal formal presentation. It’s the perfect time to show your excitement and enthusiasm about the idea - the right kind of enthusiasm can be infectious. Your pitch is an opportunity to tell a story and create that personal connection...yes, investors are about the facts and figures but that’s not what’s going to really draw them in. It’s going to be the story so let them see how excited you are about it and why they should be excited, too.
6. Don’t Forget About Your Negotiation Strategy
When you go into a pitch, you need to have the positive mindset that you’re going to walk away with an offer. But...what if you get an offer that’s lower than what you’d hoped for?
Be prepared for a situation like this and have a negotiation plan ready. How are you going to counter if your investors offer less money or ask for more equity? Know your numbers, think about your own bottom line, and be clear on what you’re willing to negotiate without losing out on the deal completely.
Is that a lot of information? Maybe. But these are all key points in the art of pitching. Take the time now to polish everything up so you can stride into that pitch meeting with confidence and leave knowing that you gave it your all (and with an offer on the table)!