I have held +450 pitch trainings and seen +5.000 pitches and here is the one crucial thing everyone is missing!
We all love data and want to measure everything but there is vital information on the impact your pitch is creating you are simply ignoring…
Now first and foremost let me get this straight: a pitch is only every good if what you promise can be held. I am a strong advocate of a no-bullshit approach. At this point I want to assume that the project or startup you are witching is solid. So this piece you are reading is not about how to build a great pitch (instead look here) or how to avoid major mistakes (look here) but in fact about something else but equally important.
Details. Or rather vital information you are quite simply ignoring.
Now before you start ramping up your analytics or your funnel bear with me. I mean something else. Visual data.
Now if you walk out on stage and start delivering your pitch your body and your mind are going to go in over-drive to say the least — in many cases your fight or flight response will totally encompass your synapses…
…and thats whats happening on the inside. On the outside you will have lights shinning in your face, you will be looking for your marker on the ground, firmly clutching your presenter.
I bet just looking at the picture above some of you will get that tingly sensation of excitement or even a bit of anxiety …
Now in either case we can agree on the fact that both your mind and your body are in overdrive … and you are focused on delivering the performance of a lifetime and I’m sure you will. But here is the thing:
a pitch is a conversation starter (in fact its a lot like dating). Simple as that. But while on stage you are entirely missing the other side of the conversation.
Now I don’t mean the Q&A part, that happens afterwards. What your are missing are the direct reactions to what you have said! To be honest you are pretty much blind on stage!
And this is even worse when delivering a remote pitch via zoom etc…yes, you might just see a couple of faces but in most cases while in presenter mode you have zero sight of your audience.
Now you might be able to observe very strong reactions while on stage or even via Zoom but what you are missing are the very small but often even more important reactions like facial expressions. They can reveal so much!
Imagine you have just mentioned how much money you are looking for and you can’t see how the investor you are trying to onboard is reacting. Now even worse are the smaller parts when e.g. you are talking about your road map or even small product details. You are missing absolutely incredible feedback simply by not being able to do so while on stage.
Think of the simple power of a small smile, a nod or shaking of a head in disbelief — absolutely vital information to build up on that you are missing!
And to be honest I’m very much shure that you wont be able to pick it up on stage while pitching and going a hundred miles an hour in your brain…
So here is what you need: a spotter.
I came up with that rather simple sollution while following one of my passions, car racing! To be more precise — oval racing. They heavily rely on so called spotters.
The spotter’s job is the be additional eyes and ears for the driver to help focus on the actual job at hand and on top being able to see things the driver just can’t see (here’s a great video).
Just like a racing driver you need to be able to focus on your job but should also rely on someone else who has your back. Your spotter is ideally your co-founder and someone you can rely on with substantial knowledge of your business and even more specifically whom you are targeting.
So this is how it works:
Your spotter knows that on slide 7 you are going to mention your current traction and you both know that there is a VC in the audience your targeting!
Your spotter gets eyes on her at the right moment to observe the ever so slight reaction. Does she nod with her head in accordance, does she frown or has she maybe lost interest all together? All in all absolutely vital information and great data!
Now after your pitch your spotter can relay this information to you and you can strongly build on that … the best case your spotter being your co-founder and joining you on stage for the Q&A. Your spotter should also take notes to recall who reacted how!
However, here is one more bit of advice: don’t be creepy.
Seriously. Its about observing in the right moment, not staring the whole time or getting in someone’s space. This certainly wont help you but rather give you a restraining order.
But of course you are smart and wont do anything stupid. I hope…
Thank you very much for reading this…in fact, if you found this helpful and want me to create more content around pitching and public speaking, please take a second and follow me here on medium or clap on this article. Or both … this really helps me a lot!
And if you want to know more about me: www.daniel-cronin.com