So you have been chosen to “pitch” your company at a local pitch competition. The audience is mixed with angel investors, other entrepreneurs, and community people who want to support the ecosystem. The organizers have given you five minutes to tell your story to a group who may or may not have had a couple of drinks. You panic and wonder: What have I said “yes” to?

Don’t worry, pitching really only comes down to three things:

Sell yourself first.

Pitches are designed to be a quick, rapid fire of information. You need to do all you can to make a connection with the audience within seconds. We tend to listen to people we like and want to root for and that is what you want from the audience – to root for you and help you grow your business. People bet on the jockey, not the horse. You are the asset, so sell YOU.

Don’t get lost in the weeds.

Pitches are like the first date. The goal of a first date is to have a second date.  And you aren’t going to get a second date by telling them about your crazy uncle who lives in the shed in your backyard. The audience doesn’t need to see slides of your network architecture nor do they need to see all of the financial models that your CPA created for you. Keep your conversation during your pitch at a high-level, so those who are interested will pull you aside after and talk to you.

Talk slow and breathe.

You only have five minutes, so you have to talk fast to get everything in. Wrong! Just because you talk fast, doesn’t mean your audience will listen fast. You will probably be talking about an idea or a concept that the audience doesn’t understand, so they are hanging on every word. If they can’t process what you are saying, then they shut down and you’ve lost them. Talk slow and when you think you are talking slow, talk slower. And don’t forget to breathe. Fainting does little for winning pitch competitions.

Pitch competitions are great experiences and can be valuable to grow a company. If asked to pitch, say yes, but keep these three things in mind. If you are in the Baton Rouge area, and want to pitch, visit Nexusla.org/pitchbr good luck!

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