The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

3 minutes to make your case, or how to land your pitch

The pitch is the art of making your case. It is a short presentation that sums up your product, service or, more globally, your company. The difficulty of the exercise lies in the constraints: time is limited; your words have to have impact; the speaker has to seem comfortable to project a winning image of the company… Feel the pressure mounting? Here are a few tips to help you with this exercise, drawn from articles on the subject and the experience of entrepreneurs and experts.

Your pitch, step by step:

First, ask yourself the question: who am I talking to? Is your audience the general public or part of an event or competition? Is it a vice-president during a formal meeting? A team in the field? How many people will attend the presentation?

You need to adapt your pitch to your target. So researching your audience and their business is fundamental.

With this information in mind, here are the key things that should be part of the pitch:

  • Introduce yourself: your name and the name of your company.
  • Explain the problem… captivating your audience while you do so.Don’t get to the heart of things right away; first offer a personal anecdote and succinctly address a subject that concerns everyone. Then make the connection with the problem you have noted.
  • Present the solution to the problem: your project, service or product.
    • Briefly explain how your proposal meets the need raised. Keep in mind that “above all, you need a solution suited to the client’s needs,” as Marc-Antoine Dugas, president of the start-up Netlift, explains.
    • Demonstrate your project’s potential: “The solution proposed has to open up paths the company wouldn’t have taken on its own,” according to André Bélanger, president of Hyperliens.
  • Establish trust with your audience:
    • Explain how your approach is realistic and doable.
    • Reassure them about your ability to deliver: generally, and specifically with respect to this project.
    • Talk to them about your company, your team, etc.
  • Close the pitch by reiterating your solution

Adapt your pitch to the time allotted.

Get informed when preparing for the pitch. Find out about the sector targeted by your product through statistics, data, studies… This information will be invaluable for backing up what you say and having a conversation with your target. It shows how relevant your project is and lends credibility.

To find out more about “Pixar’s secret code,” or how to put together an irresistible pitch: the last part of the article “Master the art of the pitch like a pro” (in French only).

You will make your mark by being:

  • concise: time yourself. Present your main ideas and provide concrete examples of how your product works.
  • clear and understandable: use the fewest technical terms possible.
  • genuine: learning a pitch by heart can create the impression of artificiality.
  • honest: don’t oversell.
  • dynamic: get your audience involved by generating interaction. Have visuals to accompany your oral presentation.
  • passionate and motivated: it is like a job interview; you have to show your passion for the job to pique an employer’s interest. Your leadership will inspire your audience.
  • an effective listener.

Plan your non-verbal communication:

  • Dress professionally.
  • Look your audience in the eye.
  • Adapt your tone of voice to the audience.
  • Stand up straight, head held high, without being stiff.
  • Be confident and pleasant.

Don’t underestimate the time to prepare your pitch

Whether you have three, four or twenty minutes, your pitch should be rehearsed. Practice 50 times in front of an audience that knows how to be critical until you feel ready.

A dry run will help you prepare a series of questions your audience could ask.

Mistakes to avoid:

  • Pretending you have all the answers when you don’t.
  • Saying that the project would be a dream come true for you (investors don’t care).
  • Having more than two people speaking.

As we said, the pitch is the art of making your case. So you can see how words count as much as attitude. Be inspiring, earn your audience’s trust and show professionalism right up until the end. If you are turned down, keep the same attitude and never show that this could be the end of the entrepreneurial adventure for you.


Sources:

-       “InnoBahn Ubisoft: Folks Interactive shares its experience with the National Bank”, Acclr

-       “Les secrets d’un bon pitch de vente”, Les Affaires

-       “InnoBahn Ubisoft: Netlift resolves a mobility issue in Mile End”, Acclr

-       “Maîtrisez l’art du pitch comme un pro”, Les Affaires

-       “Building bridges between start-ups and major companies”, Acclr

-       “Comment réussir son pitch”, Je suis entrepreneur.fr

-       “Pitch: convaincre en 3 minutes”, Agent Majeur

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