What is a business pitch?
A business pitch is a short and synthetic presentation of your product, your service or, in a more global way, your company. The difficulty of such an exercise lies in its constraints: time is limited; the words must be punchy; the speaker must seem at ease to convey a winning image of the company… To help you with this exercise, we offer you some pieces of advice…
What should your pitch include?
One of the most important elements of delivering a professional business pitch is getting the structure right. Here is an example of structure in 10 steps you could follow:
- Introduce yourself: your first and last name, the name of your company, your position…
- Describe the problem by telling a story: what need does your solution address? How your solution meets the needs?
- Present the solution to the problem: your project, your service or your product
- Show the full potential of your project: “The proposed solution must open up avenues that the company would not have exploited on its own,” according to André Bélanger, president of Hyperliens
- Establish a bond of trust with your contact
- Explain how your approach is realistic and feasible: taking stock of a critical look and looking ahead to the eventual project’s aftermath
- The knowledge and skills (being able to…) developed through the project
- Reassure them about your ability to deliver: in general and, in particular, with regard to this project
- Tell them about your company, the team around you, etc.
- Finish the pitch by reminding them of your solution
What should you do to stand out?
For your pitch to be successful, it must be engaging, informative, and highly compelling. You will need to convince the target audience of both the viability of your business and your personal business acumen.
The 4 C’s rule:
- Consistency: your ideas must flow logically. No loose ends!
- Clarity: be specific and punchy. Don’t use overly general or general-purpose phrases
- Conciseness: distinguish the accessory from the essential. The heart of your pitch should fit on a post-it!
- Credibility: Illustrate the point with concrete examples and figures. Anchor your project in reality
One pitch = one clear message
Your pitch should only convey one message. If you’re trying to say too much, you won’t say much. Adapt yourself to the person you’re talking to and find the best angle of attack.
- Adapt your pitch to the time allotted
- Time yourself! Present your key ideas and provide concrete examples of how your product works
- Understandable: use as few technical terms as possible
- Authentic: memorized speeches give the impression of artificiality
- Honest: do not overestimate the value of your product
- Dynamic: give your oral presentation a visual accompaniment
- Motivated: like a job interview, you have to demonstrate your passion for the position in order to arouse an employer’s interest. Your leadership will inspire your audience
- Listen to your interlocutors
Prepare your verbal/non-verbal communication
A pitch is a theatrical act, be prepared before the performance!
Learn your text by heart, repeat it and time yourself but the key is to make your pitch natural and spontaneous. The more comfortable you feel, the more you can react to the unexpected and bounce back during the conversation.
To bring the pitch to life, you have to work on your “staging”:
- Adapt your pitch to your target: research on your interlocutors and their company
- Adapt your tone of voice to your audience
- Gestures, breathing, silence, rhythm…
- Wear neat clothes
- Face your interlocutors
- Stand up straight, with your head held high, but do not freeze
This presentation in front of others will help you prepare a series of questions that your audience may ask you.
Mistakes to avoid
- Speaking too fast: even if you have 180 seconds don’t try to avoid cramming 20 minutes of information into 3 minutes
- Not be prepared: keep practicing it until you feel comfortable
- Don’t underestimate the time it takes to prepare your pitch
- Using technical terms: you want to be understood by any audience and do not make the questioner feel dumb
- Being robotic: Be assertive and approachable will get you much further than an overly monologue approach
- Don’t leave your audience in passivity: encourage interaction
- Audience Advantage, 2019
- Cam Barber, Vivid Method, 2012
- Danny Yaroslavski, Medium, 2016
- Mike Simpson, The Interview Guys
- Philippine Clogenson, Challenges, 2016
- Spontanez-vous, 2019
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