The Purpose of Pitching in Public

Your precious public pitch. You prepare, practice, polish and finally, present it. I know, that’s a lot of “P” words. Here’s one more: Purpose.

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Never lose track of the reason you’re pitching to begin with. You aren’t pitching investors in order to get them to make a decision.

The purpose of your pitch is to get a meeting.

Keep that goal on the forefront of your brain as you create, practice and deliver your pitch.

Nobody’s going to walk up to you immediately after your presentation and write a check. Okay, so that does happen occasionally–we’ve seen it a handful of times at Techstars Demo Day. But the majority of the time, the purpose of your pitch is to get that next meeting with an investor. And how do you get a meeting? You get it by being awesome.

As an investor, if I’m thinking about potentially working with someone, I’m going to spend some time with them. I want to see how they interact and figure out if they have what it takes to execute on their idea. But the thing that often compels me to meet with them in the first place is simply this: Do they seem awesome?

I watch lots and lots of pitches and meet with tons of entrepreneurs, and it is just way more fun to meet with awesome people. So use your pitch to show me that you’re awesome. Show me that your product is awesome. Show me that you can describe it awesomely. Within the first minute of your presentation, you should really draw me in and get me excited about this big opportunity. Help me clearly understand what you’re doing, show me that you have momentum and tell me about your traction. Like I said, investors typically aren’t going to make a decision on the spot. But if you can do those things and demonstrate that you and your product are awesome, you’re much more likely to get that next meeting, where you can share more information and go deeper.

So how do you use your pitch to show that you and your company are downright awesome? Bring some energy and show your enthusiasm for what you’re doing. Always be yourself. Whatever makes you particularly interesting and awesome, find a way to showcase that through your presentation. Maybe you have a great sense of humor, a unique perspective or a dramatic story to tell. Show that you truly understand your market and why you’re passionate about what you’ve built. Finally, practice your pitch over and over so you’ll be able to deliver it with complete confidence.

If you can combine being interesting with an amazing product and/or significant traction, there’s a good chance you’ll have investors thinking: “I really want to spend more time with these people. They’re awesome. I’d love to learn more about them and what they’re doing.”  That’s exactly the reaction you want. That is how you get the meeting.

Hopefully it will be an awesome meeting. That’s why you’re pitching in the first place.

file under: Startups