Lessons from My First Pitch

“When we are selling our ideas, the audience must first buy us.” — Peter Coughter

Entering my third month now at Founder Institute Berlin, oh how it’s been an intense ride!

I already got my company incorporated, completed my first prototype, secured beta testers for my product, got advisors on board, and finally did my first 5 min pitch. Now that the stage fright has finally cleared in my veins, I could share some lessons I learned from pitching my startup onstage for the first time.

Practice, practice, and practice

Preparation is always the key to any victory.

Ideally I should practice my pitch minimum 20–30 times before I go on stage. And I must confess that I did not do enough. Therefore, I was struggling in the middle of my pitch as I was forgetting what I wanted to say. This made me super nervous, then I started rambling and talking super fast.

I think the way to get over nervousness on stage is just to be ready. And to be ready, I simply need to prepare more.

Focus on the script of the pitch, then build the slide deck afterward

This is a great tips I received from Dirk Lehmann. I was having a hard time building my pitch as I focused my energy on the presentation deck. I could not seem to create the connection between one slide and the next ones. As Garr Reynolds perfectly sums up:

PowerPoint culture causes both audiences and presenters to suffer. And content suffers too. The root of the suffering is attachment to old PowerPoint habits and misunderstandings about how best to connect to an audience. Lose your attachment to the “normal” way PowerPoint is used and lose poor
presentation habits to move to a higher level of effectiveness.

It’s WAY easier, faster, and better to work on the script first to establish the flow of the pitch, then build the slide deck afterward.

Pitch = Storytelling

The easiest way to explain complicated ideas is through examples or by sharing a story that underscores the point.

I started my pitch by telling a personal story to support my major points. Chiara Cokieng suggested me to share an interesting personal tidbits to make it memorable to the audience and catch their attention.

It was weird initially as It felt like I was exposing myself to strangers. However, I’ve been receiving a lot of positive feedbacks and supports as they could resonate to my story.

It made me realise that at the end of the day, pitching is all about the audience we want to serve.

Acting as if…

know what needs to change,

believe that I can make that change,

and will make that change.

Those are from altMBA and I am still working on it! It was the toughest part indeed.

I was plagued with self-doubt on my pitch as this is my first startup, and I had no experience in pitching before, and I always have stage fright, and the list could go on and on.

It’s a great learning for me: what if acting as if is all that’s required?

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