Tips For A Perfect Pitch

Recently I attended the 26th Business Startup Show held at Earls Court (London) during 17 and 18 November. I don’t usually go to these types of events but I thought I’d give it a try, partly to see a couple of key talks, and partly to gauge the general atmosphere given the rather foreboding financial climate.

In the end I arrived after lunch and attended two talks, met up with a colleague and had a quick wander.

Overall, and somewhat to my surprise, the show put me in a really positive and optimistic mood! This was primarily due to the inspiring talks of Penny Power and James Caan (I’ll write about these separately) but also because of the general ‘buzz’ that was obviously around.

There was alot on show – over 250 seminars and 300 exhibitors – and a little of alot is often a good strategy to avoid exhaustion!

Browsing through the (180 page) brochure they sent me beforehand, I noticed a few pages that offered some very helpful hints and tips. One was on Tips for a Perfect Pitch. This was aimed at a particular event at the show, The Midas Touch, which sounded pretty gruelling. You had a 5 minute pitch to a panel, all in public so not for the faint-hearted!

However the advice offered is far more general and applies to many business interactions. I reproduce the points below. They’re all standard and in a way rather obvious – it’s just that many people violate a few and this is a serious disadvantage.

For example, some of them are handy to bear in mind when introducing yourself to someone whilst waiting in a queue for a presentation, as I found myself at one point!

I’ve reordered the tips so that the general points come first:

I never heard any of the Midas Touch pitches – I’ll definitely take a look at a few the next time I go – but in James Caan’s slot a couple of people made pitches (even though it was meant to be a Q&A session). It was interesting to see how the above hints are worth their weight in gold.

The main error was not making things clear and concise as well as giving a short snappy argument as to why they were (excitingly) different. In fact this is not covered in the advice above so I would also add

  • Be prepared for obvious questions and have convincing replies ready.

Following on from this, you need to be prepared to realise that pitching to yourself may be all you need to work out if you have a bright idea (or not) and whether you need more work on the proposition or best be brave and just abandon it for something better!

The 27th Business Startup Show is already being advertised for 17-18 May 2012. It is a free event and will be held at ExCel in London.

PS Regarding the list above, I must remember to smile a lot more – hopefully in a natural way 🙂

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