Yesterday I had the chance to meet with five entrepreneurs that are pitching at the excellent Venture Atlanta conference next month. These small group feedback sessions are a great way to meet entrepreneurs and offer up some of my personal experiences as I’ve pitched over 30 VCs and personally presented live to audiences as large as 7,000 (the Mercer commencement address).
Here are six quick tips:
- Tell a story, not hundreds of details – Stories are the most powerful. Entrepreneurs, in love with their startup, often want to share every detail. Don’t. Tell a memorable story instead.
- Don’t read from a script – Multiple entrepreneurs yesterday had word-for-word scripts for their six minute pitch. People don’t want to hear from a script; people want to hear a passionate presentation that evokes emotion.
- Show presentation slides, not handout slides – Most of the slide decks yesterday were leave-behind or handout slides with tons of words and details. Keep the slides simple. Follow the rule that the smallest font size on the slide should be no smaller than half the age of the oldest person in the room.
- Make an “ask” at the end – The purpose of a pitch is to get something. Whether it’s to raise money, find new customers, or recruit a key team member, always make an “ask” at the end of the pitch.
- One slide per minute – Don’t overwhelm the audience with too many slides as it takes away from listening to the presentation. Plan for one slide per minute and keep the visuals clean and on point.
- Practice, practice, practice – Everyone can tell immediately when a pitch is well rehearsed. Entrepreneurs that wing it tend to ramble on and muddy their message. Practice the pitch until it’s second nature. Also, visit Pitch Practice for help.
I love hearing entrepreneurs give their pitch and with these six tips will make it even more powerful.
What else? What are some more pitch recommendations?