Yesterday I spent the afternoon at fbFund REV demo day watching 20+ startups pitch to a room of over 100 investors and seasoned entrepreneurs.
What’s interesting is the pattern I started to see emerging. Some of the best startups not only had the strongest pitch, but also had an amazing person selling!
Here’s 5 characteristics I noticed and why I think they’re the most important when pitching your startup.
- Have a presence
- Command the room
- Tell a story
- Solid eye contact
- Choose your words carefully
Have a presence: Believe (internalize) that you’re going to succeed and show the audience how freakin’ excited you are about your solution. Be high energy! (ex: Brad Wolfe [backlight.org] opened with a song full out).
Tip: Do 20 pushups before you get up to pitch.
Command the room: Talk loudly, don’t ask if people can hear you. Just get up there and go for it – be focused and stay on topic <- no one-one-one banter with an audience member. (ex: Leah Busque [RunMyErrand] rocked it out standing tall at 5,1′)
Tip: Project your voice as if your talking to people behind the last row in the room.
Solid Eye contact: Scan the room and talk to the audience, not your slides. Be sure to connect, smile / head nob / confirm with attendees (ex: Leila Chirayath Janah [Samasource] did an amazing job scanning, talking and smiling!)
Tip: Take 3 seconds to acknowledge people sitting in the far left and right corners of the room.
Tell a story: Stories are engaging, features aren’t. Explain the problem you’re solving and why you’re solving it (include the “back story”). Also, the user flow is important, however don’t fall into the trap during the demo of explain each field name and button click = super annoying. (ex: Brian Phillips [Thread] did an amazing job connecting his real life story to his startup)
Choose your words carefully: Don’t say things like; potentially, soon, try, we believe, etc (a.ka. debby-downer-words). Sometimes certainty and conviction is the only thing a startup has and your job is to make others feel this. Words are very important.
Do you have any other tips? Please leave a comment – would mean the world.