Imagine this: You come home from a long day at work or school. The fridge is empty so you order a pizza. You hang up the phone after hearing, “Your order will be delivered in 15 minutes!”
Those moments are already the most excruciating of your life because, as we have established, it’s been a long day and you’re hungry.
The 15 minutes pass and your pizza still hasn’t arrived. When it is finally delivered, you’re unimpressed with the company for being late and the pizza quality is average. You will likely choose not to order from them again.
Like delivering a pizza, delivering a pitch for your business plan should be completed within the proposed time frame and impress the recipient. The number one tip in Neil Patel’s article, “13 Tips on How to Deliver a Pitch Investors Simply Can’t Turn Down,” is about the importance of sticking to time, specifically no more than 10 minutes. Patel offered a few pointers for time management, like this one: “If you say that you’ll take ‘only X minutes’ then take at least one minute less.”
If only pizza companies would take that advice…
Time was a factor in a successful Shark Tank pitch by Charles Michael Yim, the founder and CEO of Breathometer. Shark Kevin O’Leary said that one of the remarkable qualities of Yim’s pitch was that it took him about 40 seconds to “articulate the opportunity” behind the venture and development of the product. In addition, Yim was quick with numbers, which upped his credibility and experience level as an entrepreneur. He was confident and that proved prosperous for his business.
Practice and preparation play large roles in mastering the pitch. A VentureBeat article by Hila Shitrit Nissim, “7 tips for nailing a startup pitch to a boardroom full of VCs,” emphasizes the rate of success that can be achieved when you are ready to answer questions and also to accept comments and criticism. One of Nissim’s tips shows how sometimes being ready for anything and demonstrating passion and enthusiasm can be more important than how exactly you respond to a question from a possible investor. She wrote, “It’s also OK to not have an answer or ‘the right’ answer, because the way you respond to questions is sometimes more important than the answer itself (it demonstrates how you deal with situations that may involve uncertainty or pressure).”
I think this statement places a lot of comfort in the presenter, especially considering I will be giving a pitch of my own in a few weeks. It reassures me that there is more to it than right or wrong, yes or no. Sometimes your product might need some extra work or maybe the right visionary, ready to take your brand to the top, just hasn’t come along yet.
To name one of my strengths as a presenter I would say that no matter how nervous I am to get up in front of a group, I always do it and once I am up there, I’m okay. On the other hand, a weakness of mine with presenting also stems from this nervous energy that I sometimes get. I have a habit of thinking too quickly that my words can’t catch up with how fast my brain is moving. Prior to my team’s upcoming pitch, I will have to practice slowing down and doing what we practice together.