From knowing how to communicate your business idea clearly, to learning how to present yourself with confidence, pitching is a difficult task. Follow these tips to make sure you overcome the nerves and shine
Many women dream of starting their own company, and have a great business idea, but telling it to others can be daunting. The recent Rexona Clinical Women’s Agenda Pitch Off event in Sydney provided women with the chance to put their public speaking skills to the test.
With passion and determination, the participants were exposed to the challenges of public speaking as they delivered their pitch for a business idea in just two minutes.
Not everyone is necessarily going to be delivering a pitch at this kind of event, but as a startup you’ll have to learn how to express your pitch persuasively, succinctly and with confidence.
Practise, practise, practise
A successful pitch stems from an internal belief in your abilities and a confidence in the direction of your business, says Rexona Clinical Pitch Off Joint-winner Sarah Liu. Liu, founder of job sharing site The Dream Job, practised extensively with her team in order to deliver an idea concisely and with self-belief in front of a critical audience.
Liu swears by rigorous practise and preparation for success, and the importance of surrounding yourself with people who can “put you on the spot”. This approach was useful for the further two minutes of questioning from judges, and for answers she’ll need to provide in the future as people challenge her to deliver on her business idea.
“Never overlook practise and preparation,” says Liu. “It’s too easy to for those who are regular public speakers and think they can ‘wing it’. But they are the people that often don’t deliver as well as the first-timers who methodically and repetitiously practise.”
Listen to feedback and criticism
Don’t be precious about your idea, says Liu. Accept feedback and get help from experts and professionals.
“Many people think it’s a one man job pitching an idea,” says Liu. “…but you should be surrounding yourself with reliable people who actually add value”. This is a sure-fire way of spotting potential flaws as you test the fool proof nature of your idea.
“Especially those people who are brand new to the idea are great for helping you anticipate questions that are going to be asked.”
Going back to the WHY instead of focusing on the HOW
Always go back to the fundamental problem you’re solving, says Liu. A lot of time is spent in a pitch explaining the product and how to generate revenue, but it’s more important to get people to buy into the problem you are claiming to solve.
Ask yourself if your pitch is illustrating the problem and if your platform is offering the solution, says Liu.
Are you fully addressing a problem important to a lot people?
Are people buying into that vision and agreeing with you that it’s worthy?
If the answer is ‘no’ go back to the fundamentals.
Belief and confidence is the key
At the end of the day, tricks to good public speaking revolve around belief in your idea and self-confidence, says Prize Pig founder and fellow Rexona Pitch Off finalist Amanda Westphal.
“For me, good public speaking involves having a real core belief in what you’re saying, and the confidence to feel excited to share your business idea, as well as making sure everyone’s on the same level and that they’re not on a pedestal.”
Westphal ensured she was well-rehearsed in the delivery of her pitch, reciting it everywhere from the shower, to driving the car and as she was trying to go to sleep.
Once the pitch becomes second-nature, you want to explain your idea succinctly. “Don’t get stuck in the content,” says Westphal. “Just drill down to the core message.”
That way you’re staying on track with facts, on the point with your idea and simple rhetoric.
Keep a little mystery
“And always leave the audience a little bit interested!” advises Westphal. “I was 25 seconds shy of the two minute time limit and I didn’t feel the need to fill it with other bits and pieces. I just wanted to be confident with what I was saying and get the core message across.
“Short and sharp – that’s me!”
Rexona Clinical can help you feel confident in your important moments.
Written by: Thea Christie