How to improve my pitch?

The question: ‘how to improve my pitch?’ gets asked a lot. When it comes to improving your pitch, there are numerous answers to this. Therefore, the question: ‘how to improve my pitch?’ doesn’t have one single answer.

To help you improve your pitch, I would have to schedule a 1-on-1 session with you and go over your pitch. However, since that would be time consuming, I decided to create a list of the 40 tips I’ve given the most often to the entrepreneurs I Coach.

These tips work well when you’re preparing you pitch, but they also apply to public speaking in general.

So how to improve my pitch? Let’s go!

 

 

Don’t want to read everything?

These are the 40 tips on ‘How to improve my pitch?’

#1 Start your pitch with 2 seconds of silence after you’ve walked on stage

When you walk on stage, it comes across strong when you wait 2 or 3 seconds before you start talking. It shows that you are confident and relaxed.

At the same time, it gives your audience the time to study you before you start talking. This way they can solely focus on your words when you actually start talking.

 

#2 Wait with introducing yourself until you’re at the end of your pitch

The mistake many people make, is that they introduce themselves at the start of their pitch. The problem is, when you didn’t deliver a good story yet, people have no reason to remember your name.

You have to earn the right to be remembered. Use the first minute of your pitch to impress your audience before you introduce yourself.

 

#3 Limit your pitch to a maximum of 2 minutes

A short pitch gets remembered better than a long pitch. Although most pitch competitions limit its participants to 2 minutes, it’s a good habit to train yourself anyway.

#4 Limit your pitch slides to a maximum of 6 slides

A lot of pitch slides make for a lot of distraction. During your pitch you want your audience to pay attention to you, not to your PowerPoint. Limit the distraction and don’t go over 6 slides.

 

#5 Start your pitch with a bold statement

A good pitch grabs your attention right from the start. A bold statement definitely does the trick. Start your pitch with a statement which ‘shocks’ your audience. A few examples:

  • 92% of the public speakers are terrified to do a pitch.
  • Human beings are more scared of public speaking than from death.
  • Every day 40.000 people quit their job and start their own company. 90% of them is back to being an employee within the next 2 years.

 

#6 Talk slower than you would usually do, especially when you want to emphasize an important sentence

If you want your audience to remember what you say, you should give them time to process is.

Therefore, you should talk slower during an important sentence. To fully leverage this effect, you should drop a 2 second pause after this sentence.

 

#7 Use a presentation clicker, so you don’t have to worry about your hands

For many people, positioning your hands can be an awkward thing. To prevent yourself from making uncomfortable moments, just use a presentation clicker. Not only will this make you more comfortable, it also helps you to smoothly go to the next slide.

 

#8 Stand still when you’re pitching

During your pitch, you want your audience to pay attention to what you have to say. Any form of distraction is unwanted and is a potential killer of your pitch. Therefore, you shouldn’t walk during your pitch. Stay still and have your audience pay attention to your words instead of your movements.

 

#9 When you write your pitch, image you’re talking to an old friend

This trick helps you to talk as natural as possible. Whenever you’re writing your pitch, imagine you’re talking to a friend. A friend that you haven’t seen in a long time. Imagine he asks you what your company does and why you’re so excited about it.

#10 Make a speaking ‘legend’ when you write your pitch

Not every sentence should be pronounced in the same way. Some sentences deserve more attention than others. You can prepare this by adding a speaking legend to your pitch text.

Normal sentences This is a regular sentence with no special layout.
Important sentences This is an important sentence which I made bold. I will speak slower and louder.
A break after your important sentence I will end this important sentence with a silence.  * SILENCE *

 

Hi! I’m Ralph. I help startups to get funded by designing a persuasive pitch.

Did you find the first 10 tips useful? Great!

Let’s continue with ‘How to improve my pitch?’

#11 Use power words such as ‘magic’ and ‘phenomenal’

Steve Jobs was a master of power words. He uses many words such as ‘magic’ and ‘phenomenal’ in his pitch.

Check out more power words in this article.

 

#12 Use 2 seconds of silence when you switch to a new topic

When you are talking and you switch to a new topic, it’s good to give your audience a small break. By being silent for 1 or 2 seconds the audience understands that you are switching to a new topic.

 

#13 Plan pauses after you said an important sentence

As mentioned in pitch tip 10, you should plan pauses after you said an important sentence. This is not only valid for your pitch, but also for the Q&A afterwards. Whenever you mentioned something important (for example a unique selling point) you should take a 2 second pause.

#14 Make your arms wide when you address an important sentence

When you come to most important part of your pitch, you should emphasize this by moving your arms wide.

By moving your arms in a wide position you suggest that the topic is very important, therefore the listener will pay more attention.

 

#15 Only use words which a 10-year old would understand

This tip important, especially for intelligent people. Intelligent people tend to use difficult words. Some entrepreneurs think it makes them seem like experts if they use industry jargon. Unfortunately for them that’s not the case. It makes you look silly and it will drive your listener elsewhere.

#16 Prepare the Q&A by writing all possible questions you can get

While you are in the preparation phase, you should reserve some time to prepare the Q&A. You start off with writing down every possible question you could get.  This helps you to be prepared for difficult questions.

 

#17 Only mention necessary information, skip the details

Many entrepreneurs are really excited about their company (which is great). The problem is, that they want to discuss everything with their audience. Don’t do this.

Focus on the essentials. This keeps your pitch exciting and keeps your audience listening.

 

#18 The aim of your pitch should be to make somebody excited, not to sell your product

When you write, practice and perform your pitch, your goal should be to create excitement. You want your audience to become excited about you and your company.

When you do this, sales will automatically follow.

 

#19 Remove any text from your pitch slides and only use beautiful pictures

Any form of distraction is potentially disastrous for your pitch. The number one distraction of a pitch is text on your pitch slides. This will make your audience go back and forth between the text on your slides and your spoken words. When your audience gets confused, you lost them and your pitch is over.

#20 Make eye contact with your audience and never look at your slides

Eye contact is one of the most important things in a pitch. It helps you to create a connection with your audience and at the same time it makes you likeable.

Pick a few people in your audience and make eye contact with them during your pitch.

 

Hi! I’m Ralph. I help startups to get funded by designing a persuasive pitch.

You’re half way. Way to go!

Let’s continue with the next tips on ‘How to improve my pitch?’

#21 Learn your pitch text extremely well

You should learn your pitch extremely well. Since reading a pitch from a paper is considered bad and unprepared, you should do it by head. Since you don’t want to think about your next sentence when you’re on stage, you should learn your text from A to Z.

#22 Show your hand palms throughout your pitch

Research shows that showing your hand palms creates a sense of trust. Use this to your advantage and show your hand palms frequently through your pitch.

 

#23 Practice your pitch at least 50 times

A good pitch, is a practiced pitch.

Your audience will have an easy time to see whether you practiced your pitch or not. Practicing your pitch significantly improves the delivery of your pitch. Since you’ve already practiced your pith 50 times, you’ll become comfortable with your text and your pitch will feel way more natural.

 

#24 Give your pitch a clear structure

A clear pitch structure makes it easy to listen to. The best pitch structure you can use this the following:

  1. Opening
  2. Problem
  3. Solution
  4. Business model
  5. Team
  6. Call to action

Check out this article to learn about about a pitch structure

 

#25 Practice your pitch with at least 3 friends and gather feedback

Gathering feedback on your pitch is one of the best ways to improve your pitch. Not only will this create you a better pitch, it will also give you more confidence to perform it on stage. Since you already did a trial run with other people, you’ll be more comfortable during the actual pitch.

 

#26 Research your competition to know what you’re talking about

This one doesn’t particularly apply to your pitch, but more to the Q&A. There is nothing more embarrassing than a pitcher who isn’t able to mention his competition. This gives the impression that you didn’t do your homework and you won’t be capable of executing your company.

 

#27 Always mention the size of the market in your pitch

To increase the impact your pitch, you should emphasize the potential of your company. Since the potential of your company largely depends on the size of the market, this is one of the most important things you should include in your pitch.

 

#28 Talk about the progress your company made, it gives credibility

If you want your audience to believe in you, you should share your progress. Tell your audience what you already achieved, and how much it costed you. If you’re able to acquire 100 customers with only $200 in marketing expenses, they can only imagine what you’d be capable of if you would have a real budget.

 

#29 End your pitch with a clear call to action

A good pitch ends with a clear call to action. Tell your audience what you want them to do. Should they buy your product? Should they buy a subscription? Or even better, should they invest in your company?

Forgetting to include a call to action in your pitch is like fishing without a hook: you can do all you want, but you won’t accomplish anything.

 

#30 Mention the benefits of your product, not the features

Many entrepreneurs feel like the technological features of their product are important to mention to their listeners. This is a big mistake.

Instead of telling them how it works, you should focus on what it can do for them.

For example:

Don’t say: Our  app is developed in Swift and has a 0,001 processing time.

Do say: Our app is so fast; you can make a restaurant reservation within a heartbeat.

 

Hi! I’m Ralph. I help startups to get funded by designing a persuasive pitch.

You’re almost there, 10 more tips to go. I hope you find these tips useful.

If you do, would you be so kind to share them on LinkedIn? That would mean a lot to me :).

Let’s continue with ‘How to improve my pitch?’

#31 Focus your pitch on the one problem your company is solving, not four.

Your company might solve 4 problems at the same time. Awesome.

Unfortunately, you should only mention one. It’s too much for your audience to remember everything.

If you mention one problem which you solve, they’ll remember one.

If you mention four problems which you solve, they’ll remember none.

#32 Always thank your audience if they give feedback on your pitch

It’s not always nice to receive feedback. Especially not if you prepared your pitch for ages and afterwards somebody starts criticizing your pitch.

Although I completely understand your frustration, you should nobody notice it. You don’t want your audience to remember a frustrated entrepreneur, you want them to remember a great pitcher with a great capability of receiving feedback.

#33 Stay away from cliché phrases

There are several cliché phrases you should never use. They make it look like you copied your pitch from somebody else. Besides, they hurt your credibility anyway. A few examples:

  • We just need 3% of the market(not likely you will get that)
  • We will go viral through online marketing(unless you already have big traction, why should I believe this)
  • This product promotes itself(probably not)
  • We will be bought within 2 years by Samsung or Apple(probably not)

 

#34 The qualities of your team members are more important than their names

Your audience doesn’t care about the names of your team members. They care about what they can bring to the table.

‘Did one of your team members work 6 years at Google? Nice, he will definitely add value to your company.’

‘Is one of your team members called Tom? Okay, I’m not going to remember that anyway’.

 

#35 Business casual is the way to go

Whenever you’re unsure about what to wear during your pitch, it’s always best to go business casual.

For men this means a shirt with a blazer, for women this could be nice dress.

 

#36 Smile like you just won the lottery

Research shows that smiling is contagious and impacts the mental state of your listener. When you smile, your listener is likely to start smiling as well. Since a happy audience will perceive your pitch as better, a happy smile is the way to go!

 

#37 Always be excited about your company

It doesn’t matter whether you had a really bad week, whether you just fired your bests employee or you’re about to go bankrupt. You should be excited about your company.

If you’re excited, other people become excited as well.

 

#38 Double check your technology

There is nothing so embarrassing as a freezing PowerPoint presentation.

When the IT doesn’t work the way you want it to, this makes you look unprepared. Not only will this hurt your credibility, it will distract your audience from your pitch.

 

#39 Be energized when you walk on stage

The reason why you should pitch with a lot of energy, is because it is highly contagious. Roberto Cialdini, expert on influencing, describes in his book that human beings tend to mimic each other.

If you’re able to pitch with a lot of energy, so will your audience be. Since energized people are more positive, this will work in your advantage when they mentally judge your pitch.

#40 Analyze the audience before you write your pitch

Is your audience full of tech IT professionals? Tell them a little bit about your IT structure.

Is your audience full of financial experts? Don’t forget your financial overview.

Is your audience small? Make your pitch engaging, open your pitch with a question to the audience.

Every audience demands a different approach.

Hi! I’m Ralph. I help startups to get funded by designing a persuasive pitch.

If you enjoyed this content, hit that share button below. It would mean a lot to me and it helps others to see the content as well.

Free Pitch Guide

FREE CHEATSHEET

 

Do you want to kickstart your pitch with 40 actionable pitch tips?


This free (and highly detailed) cheat sheet will give you 40 smart and actionable pitch tips. (AND will help you to pitch with more confidence!).

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Free Pitch Guide

FREE 40 PITCH TIPS

 

Do you want to kickstart your pitch with this free PDF?

 

Fill in your details below.

 

By filling in your details you agree to your terms & conditions and our privacy policy.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

FREE CHEATSHEET

 

The 30 Mistakes You Should Avoid When Pitching To An Investor


This free (and highly detailed) cheat sheet will help you to avoid common mistakes when you're pitching to an investor. You don't want to miss this.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

At which email do you want to receive your document?

You have Successfully Subscribed!