Pitching Your Ideas: Show, Don’t Tell

I just saw a great video from the London FOWA Expo that serves as a great example of how to execute a presentation of your business ideas to potential investors, VCs, press, and consumers. Web Start-ups Pitching Their Companies takes you through 5 brief presentations of new web application startup companies, from social networking apps, to online gaming. Each presentation was done in front of an audience but pitched to a panel of 4 reputable and well-known technology/ internet enthusiasts that score them at completion, and beginning with the opening of a 60 second “elevator pitch”.

Ignoring the panelists, and just viewing each presentation as a regular consumer, you can easily evaluate each pitch based on their execution, the information and visuals provided and the idea itself. The companies pitching that did the worst (even by a layman’s standards) failed to show what the product was, what it did and what were its distinctive assets. Moreover, their elevator pitch was unclear and left you wondering still, “what was the product?” The visuals were weak and conveyed little about the product, one presenter even failed to show their product all together. At the end of the elevator pitch, it was easy to tell if it was done well based on how few or many questions were left unanswered (and indeed asked by the panelists). One of the panelists gave a very simple but profound piece of advice: “Show us what you do and what the product is, don’t tell us.” Meaning, any random person should be able to look at the few visuals while listening to a brief overview of the product and services, revenue model, challenges and opportunities and then say, “I understand what this is. I see how it can make money. And I think it does/ does not have the potential to last/ grow.”

If you are an entrepreneur and you want to know the best way to evaluate the effectiveness of your pitch, think about not what you want to tell investors, but what are the things they most importantly want to know. And, if you can do this with little room for questions of clarity, then you’ve done your part.

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