How to shine at a pitching competition

This is a post inspired by the many pitches I listened to in the small room of DigiTalK 2015, various startup events over the past few years up to the most recent round of Startup Next  graduates, and some often overlooked slidedeck wins (read more about my experiences of DigiTalK in the Let’s Talk About post). 

The most important part of any pitch or presentation is to know who you will be talking to and why you are worth their time.

1. Know the Audience

It’s not enough to know what you’ll be talking about ( this helps!), you also must know the intended audience of the talk or presentation. The intended audience will inform the kind of talk that you should make, what flavour lexicon to use, and how technical you should get in your area of expertise.

It’s not enough to know who you’re speaking to, but also why they’re there. Are they potential investors? Clients? Partners? Are you relying on a word-of-mount spread? Without answering these basic questions, your pitch can very easily (and quickly) be ignored. Discarded. Forgotten before it’s finished.

Based on the who your decisions can, and should, be altered!

2. Be Memorable

At a pitching event, you take the stage for a pitch before or after some other company who has also pitched. This informs us that firstly, you’re not the only people in the room with a great new idea. And secondly, you’re not the only people looking for buy-in from the audience (regardless of the kind of audience you need to engage!). It also tells us that the attention of the audience might be distracted from the previous pitch. Make sure your pitch is memorable! 

There are some good tricks to use here like;

  1. Humour
  2. Attention grabbing full-size images
  3. Tactical pauses during pitch delivery

2. Be Recognisable

It is crucial for the audience to know who you are once a lead is generated by that awesome, memorable pitch you’ve just delivered!

At the start of your pitch, I’m not interested in you or your company. If you’re lucky, during your pitch, I’ll become interested in what you have to say. That’s the time I need to know your company name and/or Twitter handle. Once at the start isn’t good enough! Put your Twitter name on each slide of your deck.

Chances are, the people in your audience are heavily tech focused social media users. Use this to your advantage. If I am inspired to take a picture during your pitch, don’t make me think “well who even are these people?”. It’s a missed opportunity to not have your company logo or Twitter handle in the corner of that slide!

Having a Twitter handle on all slides helps so much! Branded tshirts for all the people on the team! Be the team people want to talk to and find out more!


Startup Weekend is around the corner, so we’ll see just how relevant these tips will be! 🙂


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