Yesterday I was one of 50 presenters to pitch their companies at StartupRiot 2011. I was blessed to tie for 2nd place (again) with my startup Nexpense. I was blessed for many reasons….
1.) Sanjay & the StartupRiot team allowed me to pitch again. Why? I’m not entirely certain; but, instead of a pitch video, I submitted a video with the top 5 reasons they should allow me to pitch again as part of my application. I’m guessing that didn’t hurt…. And the main reason was the PROGRESS we’ve made since last year.
2.) The companies and presenters were the BEST yet. Really, not a bad pitch in the house.
3.) I had so many friends and supporters in the audience, it could have been rigged. 😉
4.) We had 10 women pitch. 8 of them our part of our StartupChicks programs and coaching!!! 20% of all presenters were women and that is HUGE!
5.) Fear is my friend. Yes, I am actually really good in VERY stressful situations. (Of all sorts, per the paramedics & doctors, I once saved a friend’s life after a ski accident by taking the right steps while waiting for help. They had to helicopter her to the hospital…)
I love StartupRiot. It’s a great event. The energy and BUZZ is amazing. Some of my lessons learned from the last 2 years….
– practice, practice, practice. I do as many “StartupGauntlet”s as possible and practice everywhere: while jogging, while driving, in the shower, etc.
– there comes a point where you just give it up to a higher power, and trust that you will do the best YOU can do.
– visualize. For about 2-3 days before the event, I spend just as much time “visualizing” nailing it, as I do practicing.
– when I walk on stage the first thing I do is BREATHE and smile. It relaxes me, a bit.
– be yourself. be authentic. If you are doing something out of character (ie. trying to tell a joke, if that’s not you), it will backfire.
– there is an element of showman-ship. Especially in a Fast Pitch. 50 companies presenting, how can you stand out??? PLAN IT.
– keep it simple. Slides simple, your talk simple.
– Know your goal. You’re just trying to peak their curiosity and get them to come visit your table or booth. That’s IT. At the table/booth, you try to get their card and ask to contact them about a meeting. One step at a time.
– If they come to the table get THEIR email or phone number (even if they don’t have a card), you want follow-up to be YOUR responsibility NOT theirs.
For those of you who missed it, here is a video of my pitch:
And here are my slides:
If you’ve got a pitch coming up… get help. Schedule an office hours and I’ll do what I can to help!