Imagine you are getting into an elevator. The door closes and you realize that a familiar face is standing next to you: Bill Gates. From now on you have exactly 60 seconds to convince him of your idea. How do you go about it?
The supreme discipline of presentation
A pitch is probably the supreme discipline among the presentations. While in a normal presentation you have plenty of time to present the idea, the company and the product, the pitch is a snapshot. In just a few minutes you have to convey the essentials to your counterpart and at the same time inspire him or her with your idea.
And a good pitch is not only needed in spontaneous "elevator pitches" - in the battle for investors or clients, such short presentations are the order of the day. The pressure is particularly great because if you can't bundle and formulate your thoughts in a flash, you may miss a unique opportunity in a matter of seconds. So how do you best prepare for a pitch?
To be well prepared for spontaneous situations
You have already lost the classic "elevator pitch" the moment you think about how best to formulate your thoughts. By then the elevator door will have opened again and you will never again have the unique opportunity to be alone in a room with Bill Gates. Therefore, every entrepreneur should prepare himself for such scenarios and know how to describe the company and the advantages for the ideal customer in a few sentences so aptly and crisply that the one who is interested gets the desire for more information. Because even if the situation is spontaneous, it helps to prepare for certain key scenarios in advance. This can be a 1-, 5-, or 10-minute pitch, for example. If you have a presentation strategy ready for each of these time frames, no spontaneous pitch will upset you.
The three core elements of a good pitch
The perfect preparation for a pitch includes important considerations about the key messages, the audience and the objectives of the short lecture. A mind map can help to create an overview of all important contents. Only when these outline points have been defined should you begin with the concrete formulations. Ideally, a good pitch consists of three core elements or steps:
A crisp intro:\ The very beginning of your presentation decides whether you will captivate the audience or not. You can save yourself boring background information. A question, an exciting key figure or a short fact will arouse curiosity and captivate the audience. A good example would be the question: "Do you know the problem that ...?" or the fact: "Thousands of people are confronted with this problem! Further tips for the perfect start of a presentation we will tell you here.
The core statement:\ Especially in a pitch you should keep your step particularly short and precise. Think about the right formulation to convey your core message in a few words and as fact-oriented as possible.
The Call to Action:\ Here you can bring your pitch to a crowning conclusion. You have pointed out the problem, presented the solution and all that is missing now is the action - the Call to Action. By offering your conversation partner more information or a follow-up you pave the way for collaboration.
Prepare for exceptional situations
The rough structure of your pitch and the first formulation suggestions are ready. Now it is: practice, practice, practice! But with a pitch the situation is different than with a normal presentation and the pressure is correspondingly higher. In order to simulate such scenarios during training, you are free to be creative. It is best to present your pitch to different people from your circle of friends and acquaintances. Learn to respond to their reactions and adapt your wording accordingly. Rehearse your pitch in front of a mirror and train to use your body language appropriately. As not only the spoken word, but also what you say with your body contributes decisively to the overall impression. Vary not only the conversation partners, but also the entire environment during the rehearsals. To increase the stress level and simulate the pitch situation, you can become even more creative: Physical activity, extreme cold or heat and so on - the more unusual the situation in which you present the pitch, the better prepared you are.
Visual elements in pitch presentations
Not in every pitch presentation you have the possibility to use visual elements for support. In the typical "Elevator Pitch", for example, only you yourself as the presenter counts. If you work with presentation tools in a pitch, the following applies more than ever: Less is more. The presentation slides should not distract from the spoken word, but should rather support your presentation with as little content as possible.
The best pitches are anything but spontaneous
Whether in TV shows or short lectures of presentation legends like Steve Jobs and Co. - you have surely seen a really good pitch. But watch out: What seems and sounds so fluffy and loose as an observer, is in reality just the opposite: A good short presentation is meticulously rehearsed down to the last detail. The real art is to make it look as spontaneous and authentic as possible despite intensive preparation.