“The name of my company is X and we are a next generation, state-of-the-art platform enabling ….” NO
“My company X offers consumers the only way to ….” NO
“We have developed a way for businesses to redefine how ….” NO
Almost all the presenters of the last pitch event I attended began with something like the sentences above. As you probably guessed, the goal was to best describe their company in 60 seconds. I have been to and helped entrepreneurs prepare for many pitch events in my day. Traditionally you have some good presentations and some less desirable. At this particular event I was rather surprised that almost all of the pitches weren’t shaped with a little more thought and insight. It’s ironic because several of the presenters were clearly intelligent entrepreneurs and had what seemed to be strong visions for their business models. Yet, what became very apparent was that they were lacking in their storytelling abilities.
A quick Google search on how to pitch your business in 60 seconds will most likely lead you to someone explaining that there are four questions that need to be answered in one sentence (over 60 seconds) to deliver an effective pitch. The questions include: What do you do? What problem do you solve? How are you different? Why should I care?
While these questions are a good structure for organizing your 60 second pitch, as with anything the devil is in the details. These four questions are a good road map to success but need to be fused with telling a story that’s engaging, personal and relatable. Not delivered in a way that makes you sound like a robot. So how do you do it?
The answer is very simple …. you need to practice. Sounds logical right? To tell your story with maximum impact you can’t just prepare the night before your pitch event, the same way a TED presenter doesn’t just get up and give a TED talk. It takes hours of practice, revising, switching things around, standing in front of a mirror, asking your peers what they think, all to strategically craft and shape the pitch to where it needs to be.
Now of course practicing isn’t the only magic bullet because you need to come up with the words first. But, ask anyone who has seen a well rehearsed pitch vs. an ‘off the cuff’ pitch, and more often than not the rehearsed pitch, given by an entreprenuer who found the words over the course of the practice process, will come off a thousand times better. Why is that? The answer is because more than anything, every time you give your pitch the real thing you are selling is YOU. The pitch is almost secondary. Sure some people like chocolate and some vanilla (meaning, some will love the idea of your company and some will not) and that will always hold true but everyone will agree that you stack the cards in your favor against the naysayers if they instantly believe in YOU. If your words flow smoothly, if you have the confidence of being well prepared, and if you present the best possible 60 second argument for your business … success is most likely guaranteed.
So if you are an entrepreneur who knows they need to be able to quickly tell their story (which by the way is every entrepreneur), my advice is … start practicing now!