It was Thursday already and I've been waiting for quite a lot of time for this day. Gianluca told me this event is going to be in the airport, but I didn't really think that we are going to check in and all that. I did my first pitch around 2 weeks ago, when I participated in NA Start-up- the only Napoli Startups meetings, where you can go and pitch in a pitching contest. The winner gets a free trip.
I didn't win the competition, but I got great feedback and that was the most important thing for me. Many people came and asked questions and my excitement went up to the roof.
I am not going to bore you with stories about how you feel as a new entrepreneur, but instead, I want to share with you a couple of things that I learned during that event.
I started my pitch with a story that was supposed to engage everybody and make the audience identify themselves with it. Don't forget to make a cool introduction and introduce yourself. Look at Obama. In 2004, he was a nobody and that was his chance to introduce himself, to connect himself to the American people.
Keeping it simple is the best way to go because you don't want people to get confused and get lost in the information that you are providing. You want to be concise and get straight to the point. I had 10 slides to talk about in 5 minutes.
I think especially when you are at the beginning, it is very easy to lose yourself in the excitement of having a cool idea and I believe many people forget to explain what problem they are trying to solve. Many times you can explain, your startup idea/ what your company does, better just by explaining the problem, than creating a complicated system that aims to provide a full picture of what you are doing.
Most people say that people invest in people not in ideas. I still didnt manage to test this out on my own skin, but I am sure that somehow, at least 50 % they are right. Therefore, don't be afraid to talk about how cool you are as a team.
I almost never rehearsed because I think I have it all under control. Recently thought, I started to practice my speaches out loud before I went up the stage and I could really see a difference. I was calmer, I didn't panic that I will forget my words, I knew exactly what's the flow of the discourse and most importantly, I made sure that I am on time - but I still say everything I have to say in the designated time.
Something that nobody told me about so far and that I learnt on my own skin, was to have a prototype, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn page or something that people can relate to. Give them something to keep in touch and don't forget you.
People will come up with questions. Be ready to answer anything from how you started, give more explanations on what you are doing or presenting very shortly your business plan.
I think smiling can make you come across as a person who's happy, enthusiastic and approachable. Enjoy being on the stage and telling your story. Enjoy the ride!
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