For those who were able to make it to Stephen Auvil workshop “Perfecting the Pitch” this past Wednesday know what a wealth of knowledge he has to share. As a senior VP at TEDCO he has heard his fair share of good and bad pitches. Through his experiences he came up with some recommendations for budding entrepreneurs who want to perfect their pitch in order to sell themselves and their potential businesses.
Attached to this post you will find the PowerPoint presentation that he used along with the unedited audio of the workshop.
In the workshop Stephen concentrated on the following topics:
- Types of pitches and purpose
- Communication basics
- What to cover
- Some Examples
- Venture pitch slide deck
He first went over the types of pitches you can have; introduction, elevator, standard, and venture. In this workshop he specifically focused on the elevator pitch which ranges from 30-90 seconds. An introduction pitch tends to last 5-10 seconds and only involves introducing yourself. Longer pitches, like the standard and venture, can last 5-20 minutes and also required visual aids during the presentation. Despite their differences, pitches have one goal which is to get investments and sales for your company or job/promotion for you.
When it comes to communication a many people think it all has to do with what we say. On the contrary, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Only about 7% of what we say matters and 93% of communication comes from how we say it both with our speech and body language.
When it comes to what should be covered in a pitch, Stephen took examples from his professional experiences. He first said that when you begin a pitch start with your name and state it clearly. This may be a no brainer but most people miss names because they are said to fast. You then want to go into a one sentence overview of what your company does. This one sentence is crucial so you don’t get caught up in your company and forget what you’re trying to sell. You then state the problem and solution along with the business opportunity the person you’re talking to will want. Lastly you end with an ask. This ask can range from how much money you need to launch the idea to getting coffee with them next week. Stephen also challenged everyone to see if their pitch passed the “so what” test. Do you have an answer to someone’s question if they asked after every sentence “so what”? And if you don’t you should!
Stephen also offered suggestions on how to make your pitch better when you are still developing it. He reminded everyone that an average adult’s attention span is 8 seconds, meaning if your audience isn’t hooked in 8 seconds, you’ve lost them for good. He also suggested keeping the topic simple. If you have a very techy idea it is hard for people without technology backgrounds to understand what you are saying. You want to explain what your product does not how it does it. He also recommended name dropping, talking about awards or recognition received, along with numbers and statistics of how well your product or company is already doing. Finally, the best way to captivate an audience is to tell a story.
Towards the end of the workshop Stephen went through some examples of bad and good pitches he found. These can be accessed through the audio below or the PowerPoint slides attached
You can download the unedited audio of the workshop here
Make sure you download the attached Powerpoint that Stephen used during his presentation.