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The Art of Pitching

This article is written by Munira Hussein, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

The world works in mysterious ways. Imagine yourself in a situation where you have unexpectedly met your dream investor. They give you a minute to tell them about your startup. What do you say? Can you summarize your entire vision, product, team and market into one minute? Ozann Sonmez and Amal Dokhan had helpful tips speaking at the StartupIstanbul conference. You don’t want to start with how your company has failed.

Speaking more doesn’t not mean more content. Speak less and slow enough for people to understand what you are about. To achieve this, you need a lot of practice. Practice over a hundred times in front of the mirror, before other people, pitch to friends of opposite sex, get inputs, improve and perfect the art.

Consider your audience. Do not use engineering or medical terminologies to a group of investors. Keep

your presentation simple. There is what you think you need to say and what the investors want to hear.  Remember, it is not about you, it is about your audience. Research on your audience, the kind of investors you have present, what they are interested in and other things they have invested in before. Once you understand your audience, you will customize your presentation to them.

The slides are for your audience, not you.  They are there to support you. Do not present the slides. Work on your presentation skills so that you do not have to keep referring to the slides. Mention what is in for the investors. Update and customize your slides for all the various investors that you pitch to. Never use one presentation for all your pitches.  

You only have one shot at making an unforgettable first impression. Make it great. Capture the attention of the audience in the first twenty seconds of your presentation. Be memorable. Give only your first name when introducing yourself.

The Don’ts of Your Slides

Your slides are like your co-presenters. Ensure they are representing you well and not distracting your audience from paying attention.

Don’t put every word that you are going to say on the slide. The slides are supposed to be a summary of your points, not all your points.

Ensure your fonts are neither too big nor too small. Avoid using fancy fonts. Make your writings static.

Do not make spelling errors on your slides. Before pitching, ensure the slides have been read by between 5-10 people to eliminate any chances of errors. 

Don’t over animate.

Don’t use a lot of bullet points.

Finally, focus on your strengths. This could be your team, traction or how long you have been in business and hence experience. For every audience that you present to, find out the strength that will be appealing to them. Then build on that. Finish strong. You can mention your name and the name of your company again for the sake of the people that might not have paid attention at the beginning.    

─ April 16, 2020