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Originally, I wrote this for LinkedIn Pulse last week. Enjoy.

The Entrepreneurial Pitch

The judges will be seeking something authentic, new, different. They can smell poor preparation and mediocrity from the parking lot. Remember, investors, event judges, and promoters hear a lot of presentations. It’s what they do.

When it is your time to present, judges will respect you and listen to you, at least initially. Once you begin, what others have said and done prior to you is irrelevant. Plan ahead wisely. The first 30 seconds of your presentation will largely determine the outcome.

Tip 1: Learn from the data

Formulate your test results and surveys. Use the science in your presentation succinctly, powerfully, and keenly accurate. Common mistakes among new presenters relate to poor reporting or aggrandizing the outcomes.

Tip 2: Slow down a bit

As judges form into a panel prior to listening to you, recognize that they are not nervous. They are not late, timed, or under pressure to perform. They have heard many great presentations and many weak ones. Pace yourself. In baseball, a fast pitch is an advantage. Contrastingly, an overly fast or nervous “entrepreneurial pitch” typically means you strike out.

Within the first few seconds judges will begin to recognize your passion, preparation, and performance. What others have said and done is irrelevant. This is your time at the plate.

Tip 3: Know your venue

Plan your pitch for that stage, that day, that audience. Showing up 30 minutes before you speak is not preparation. Where possible, visit the venue ahead of time, perhaps a few weeks prior. If that won’t work, arrive a day early and make it a point to walk the venue.

Tip 4: Own your voice

Speak to be heard and understood. Speak to assure that you can not be misunderstood. Give your presentation on your terms with the forethought to organize your message effectively. Create wow. Create validation. No slurring. No mumbling. Where possible, write the bio to be used by the person making your introduction. The bio should help get the presentation flowing. It should be brief. Once the introduction is complete, pause at least 5 seconds before you begin.Typically the crowd will turn to one another to comment on your introduction. When you pause, you recapture their attention.

Tip 5: Look Sharp

Business attire is best. Dress a step above the audience and avoid looking like a color wheel (unless your product could be enhanced by colorful attire). Black is a great option. Navy blue is also tasteful. You want the focus of the judges to be upon your face and hand gestures as you present.

View episodes of #SharkTankWeek for additional insights.


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