By: Sinclaire Johnson
With the rise of shows like Shark Tank and Funderdome, the art of pitching has become a major factor in the business world, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship and start-ups. It was only fitting that ENI’s lecture series ENI Live continued last week with a pitch workshop led by Brandy Nagel, a startup enthusiast with a passion to help students create and grow businesses.
The workshop started with a simple question: what is the point of a pitch? While the audience came the agreement that it is to gain funds for a start-up, Brandy explained that isn’t the only senario.
“It’s is not to get them to’ write a check’,” said Nagel. “The point of a pitch is to be memorable for long enough so that they want to meet you again.”
Nagel tells the students to imagine how long someone stays in an elevator. “That’s how you have to catch someone’s attention,” said Nagel. “That’s why it’s called an elevator pitch!”
Students were able to practice their pitches with each other and some were selected by Nagel to pitch to the audience. Brandy gave three points for their pitches: be interesting, be clear, and be relevant.
Next, Nagel helps the audience fine-tune their pitches with a few simple additions. First, she suggests beginning your pitch with a strong opening sentence that describes what you do. Nagel uses the expression “I help (blank) (verb) (blank)” to help students create their opening statement. Brandy uses herself as an example, making her opening statement, “I help students build startups” and suggests that you use simple and specific words to covey your message in order to effectively engage your audience.
After the students had perfected their personal pitches, it was time to work on company pitches. Nagel suggested a slightly different model: “My business (business name) is developing (something) to help (someone).
“Make the hook be whatever problem you are looking to solve for clients,” said Nagel.
Nagel ended with a few tips on how to format a presentation for your pitch. She recommends that your presentation contains few words, lots of pictures and a font of at least 30 points or higher.
“Remember that people can normally read at least 10 times faster than you can talk,” said Nagel. “By the time you have finished reading (your slide), your audience has started checking emails, browsing Twitter, and updating Facebook about how this is the most ridiculous meeting they’ve ever been in.”
If you missed Brandy’s pitch workshop, she will be at our next ENI Live on November 7th, so be sure to register, and check out the rest of our events, on our events calendar!