Far too many founder pitches operate at a very high level of abstraction. To successfully engage investors, partners, job candidates, the media, and others you need a pitch that is down to earth, not up in the clouds. Here are some simple ways to help your audience understand the message you are trying to communicate by making your presentation concrete not abstract.
- Use examples: “We work with companies in the that burn coal for fuel, like Jenkins, Inc. in Kentucky, to help them reduce their carbon emissions – known to most of us call smog or dirty air.”
- Tell stories: “The reason I started this company is because my grandmother, who is 88 years old, lives in Louisville, Kentucky. I recently found out she suffers from asthma. After consulting with a number of asthma specialists I learned that there was little she could do rather than relocate. Well that might work for her, but what about the 616,260 other people who live in Louisville? That seemed like a big problem worth tackling.
- Don’t use business or technical jargon or hackneyed words like “innovative.” People who are not technologists or investors, like your parents or next door neighbors, need to be able to understand your pitch.
- Use proper nouns: names of people, companies, locations, and things. Better still, if you can use the names your customers, their locations, and the person you work most closely with.
- Don’t try to jam everything about your company, your product, and your team into your pitch. Slides jammed packed with multiple ideas will overwhelm your audience. Make one major point only per slide. Find or create a photo or diagram that illustrates that point. Text should be used as a caption for your image. Think of your pitch like a movie trailer. Movie trailers are designed to entice viewers to go see the movie and take only a minute or two to watch. I call this problem FILO – Fear of Leaving Out. Don’t be a victim of FILO; be willing to leave your favorite slides on the cutting room floor if they don’t help tell your story.
More advice about pitching is on my blog https://mentorphile.com/category/pitching/.