From the time we were freshman at Michigan State University, we all have undoubtedly had the word “pitch” engrained into our minds. Before we even were accepted to this university, we had to pitch why we should be able to wear green and call ourselves “Spartans.” Why should we be allowed to attend this university?
Next, we hear of the elevator pitch at career fairs and are told we only get 30 seconds to impress our potential future employer. Wow, no pressure there. As underclassman, this seems extremely intimidating and it’s hard to imagine that we could possibly have anything worthy of “pitching” to someone.
As aspiring media professionals, we begin to think of the pitch in an entirely different way. As a journalist, pitching at its best looks like thoughtful public relations professionals taking the time to pitch something of value that we can write about. As a public relations professional, pitching these days seems to be grasping at any media coverage by reaching out to reporters.
Now, as entrepreneurs, pitching our idea and product is something most of us would never dream of doing in our JRN 450 class, but here we are, at the end of the semester and it’s time to prove that the startup we have created is a value to society. Again, no pressure at all.
In VentureBeat’s 7 tips for nailing a startup pitch to a boardroom full of VCs, before the article even gets to the seven tips, the author describes three things to have during a pitch that makes “selling” yourself just a little bit easier. Those three things are passion, confidence and above all, clarity. These three things make me think of what Professor Kolt tells us matters when we are on television. He says no one will remember what we say, they will just remember how we looked and if we smiled.
Okay, during a pitch of a startup, I guarantee people will be listening to what we are saying. However, having passion and confidence and making what we are saying clear, can easily boost our likable points during the pitch.
One of the seven tips to a successful pitch really stood out to me and that tip was to bring along your team and involve them in the presentation. Something I heard from a public relations professional today about pitching was to make it personal. Well, in the world of startups, this is how to make things personal. Tell a story, talk to the audience and show them who the team is behind the startup that you are pitching.
Another tip that stood out to me was simply to keep it simple. This tip talked about the elevator pitch and mentioned that if you can’t explain it simply, then you definitely don’t understand it well enough. This made me think of my team’s startup company, Cart2Table and how we describe our idea. What we usually tell people is that our startup is going to make grocery shopping the easiest thing you’ve ever done. If that’s not simple, I don’t know what is.