Pitching for a lasting impression
Last month I was pleased to attend Finovate Europe in London, which saw 72 Fintech companies demoing their latest innovative products to over 1500 attendees.
The products ranged from ID authentication using biometrics to personal finance management tools, social trading and investing to, of course, mobile payments. What makes Finovate different and successful is the format. Every company only has seven minutes to present to the audience: no videos, no questions, and no chance to overrun when the loud buzzer lets you know your time is up and you are quickly ushered of the stage. At the end of each pitch, company representatives are hoping that they have done enough in their allocated time to attract potential investors to their stand.
Anyone who has ever presented will know that seven minutes can feel like a lifetime – or it can fly by. It was clear that some speakers were not natural presenters. But then why should they be – they have been working relentlessly to develop their product.
Having worked with other Fintech start-ups and attended many events, I have outlined five key points to consider when presenting:
1. Make people understand
The purpose of any presentation is to ensure the audience understands what you are selling, saying, etc. They need to feel excited about you and your proposition. Be succinct and ensure you get your key messages across. Think ‘elevator pitch’ - don’t over complicate it.
2. Practice again and again
Even though you are presenting your own idea or product, always practice and then practice some more. Don’t think you can just wing it. You might have a great idea, but you need to hit home with your pitch the first time, as there often isn’t a second chance.
3. Computer says No
Always check the technology ahead of any pitch. Check that all the connections work and make sure the presentation looks exactly how it should (e.g. text is formatted correctly, embedded videos play automatically, animations are working, etc.). Take the time to check these details before and you will save yourself from stress and embarrassment if things go wrong. You want the pitch to be memorable for the right reasons.
4. Be yourself
In all pitches you need to be memorable, engaging and clear in what you are saying, but it’s equally important to be yourself. Don’t worry about how others present, it is more important that people get to see the real you – someone who is confident and comfortable in their own skin.
5. Share your passion
Regardless of how long the pitch is, enjoy the moment, share your passion and show the audience that you are happy to be there. If you take it too seriously then it will come across that way. Remember to smile.