by: Lois Kirkpatrick
Chances are, your community has upcoming events where you can showcase your business to investors and CEOs. Although the judges won’t be as harsh as the ones on “Shark Tank,” you must still win their attention and respect -- which may lead to future business opportunities. Here are some keys to keep in mind when participating in pitch competitions.
1. Know Your Stuff. Be able to perform your pitch in less than five minutes, while blindfolded and running from bulls. Rehearse, get feedback, and polish your pitch -- over and over again, until it’s as perfect as possible.
2. Tell a Story. The human mind craves stories. Be able to tell your pitch in a story format: here’s the problem, here’s how my product or service solves the problem, and this is why our solution is better than others.
3. Show Enthusiasm. Rehearse telling your story with excitement. Get a clear picture in your mind of the judges smiling, nodding and being impressed with you. Play that picture in your mind over and over to help build enthusiasm.
4. Have the Answers to Their Questions. What’s the one thing you hope the judges don’t ask you? Prepare for that question, and rehearse your answer until you can say it clearly, simply and with confidence.
5. Be Memorable. What can you do to stand out from the other presenters? If you give the judges an experience that involves their five senses, it will make you more memorable. Can you play a certain sound that’s related to your product? Can you give them an object to touch? Showing a vivid and unusual picture can also make it easier for them to remember that you’re the one they should contact after the event.
Photo credit: Loudoun Economic Development
Content contributed by Lois Kirkpatrick of Loudoun SourceLink, a proud affiliate of U.S. SourceLink, America’s largest resource network for entrepreneurs.