Just 10% of people love presenting. Fact. That leaves 90% who would rather do anything else. Scary huh? Factor in the importance of winning a pitch and the pressure increases ten-fold.
So how do we overcome these natural fears and deliver a winning pitch?
- Prepare to succeed
You know your business idea inside out, now you need to carefully match this to the pitch requirements. Obvious and yet so many people prepare a presentation based on what they want to say, not what the audience wants to hear.
Make sure you address each point in the pitch document, perhaps writing down a long hand version of the presentation first. Get someone who knows about your business to check the content. Have you missed any vital piece of information? Keep the final version short and sweet. Not only will this help you stay on track, you’re also far more likely to hold the attention of the audience.
- Know your figures
Who hasn’t squirmed alongside people pitching on Dragon’s Den when it comes to sharing details of turnover figures? Under the spotlight, being able to easily recall the difference between gross and net profit is a must. Practice until the finance details are imprinted like a bar code in your memory bank. If you know in advance you might struggle under pressure, perhaps (if allowed) have some basic figures noted on some small prompt cards and use a big font – having to strain to read figures or fumble for glasses will only make you more anxious.
- Calm your nerves
The next tip is to get your nerves under control, which of course is so much easier said than done. If you’re not confident in your abilities to pitch under pressure or in front of an audience, the only option is to practice. You cannot let the nerves show when pitching as it could show weakness perhaps suggesting you don’t know enough about your product or service. Taking several deep breaths away from the stage just before you’re about to speak is a really simple, yet effective way of calming your nerves.
- Engage the audience
A good presenter will inform, educate and possibly entertain the audience. Using creative props to bring your idea to life is a great way to make sure the people watching your pitch have a feel for it. It also gives the audience something to remember you by.
- Share your passion
If you don’t appear passionate about your business idea why should anyone else?
Enthusiasm is infectious. Sharing your passion helps the audience connect with you.