Pitching your company at events

I’m at the Under the Radar event today where 250 CEOs, VCs and industry peers are gathering to see 32 emerging companies present their business plans.

Companies at UTR only get five minutes to present. I always advise CEOs to spend a small fraction of that introducing themselves personally. It’s much easier for an audience to identify with the speaker if you know who they are. Prior success also points to future performance for emerging, young companies, so it’s a good proof point.

If you have a time limit, which is the case here, then practice and stick to it. Companies at UTR get 5 minutes, so it’s easy to have a few run thrus to make sure the key points are communicated. If you over-run and need to rush it really shows.

At the same time – keep it simple. It’s great to demonstrate passion, but it must be tempered with empathy to the audience. You want them to understand, so tune the pitch accordingly.

Part of this is to keep it short. Don’t try to cover too much ground. Your audience will have a better chance of grasping the key points if you don’t distract them.

Keep slides simple. It’s tempting to have hundreds of bullets and text. But much better to make your message visual, so use graphics.

Speak slowly and animate your face and body. That can be hard if you are nervous, but it brings the presentation to life and makes it more engaging. Don’t be afraid to use a sense of humor to show personality and diffuse tension.

Lastly enjoy it. It shows.

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