One hot minute – a beginners guide to pitching

You have one minute to pitch something is a concept that many people will understand – try not to lose their attention, the timer is counting down and you have to speak quickly.

Tonight, Sam and I saw this in action at the “First Wednesday Connect” hosted by the CBR Innovation Network, a local event where people can go to speak with others who are also innovators and start-ups looking to connect – think speed dating for start-ups.

In a room full of people looking to practice their pitch; everyone is looking for someone to listen and understand what they are talking about and hopefully take something away from that conversation. The challenge is: make someone who has very little knowledge about your product, understand what you are selling. If the person you are talking to doesn’t have a use for your product, your pitch should make it easy for them to pass on the information to someone they may know who might have a use for it. For us this is more difficult than it sounds, most people don’t know what a metadata registry is, and having a minute to make them understand is challenging.

So, what do you say in your minute? For starters, you have to make ‘the pitch’ personal. From listening to some of the other pitches, the ground breaker is starting off by making the thing pitched about relatable to everyone in the room. A lot of the pitches we saw began along the lines of, “you’ve all been there, right,” followed by everyone nodding along in agreeance followed by identifying a problem that needs solving.

After you have hooked them with the ground breaker, the next step is to tell them about your product by adding something new to the equation. For start-ups, that all hope to be the next “new big thing,” bringing something new to the table is what the aim is. People want to hear what this thing can do for them that something else can’t.

When time is running out, and you only have seconds left the final hurdle is to convince your audience how they are affected by using your product. For Aristotle, we have that on the front page of the website, “achieving positive outcomes”. But the key is to tie this together into a short message about an outcome they want, that they didn’t know was needed, and the best way to solve it is the product right in front of them.

Fortunately, thanks to events like the CBR Innovation meetups, start-ups like ours get the opportunity to put this theory into practice.

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