Under COVID-19 restrictions, remote pitching has become the new normal. While remote pitching isn’t ideal, there are still plenty of steps founders can take to make their remote pitch compelling, engaging, and effective. Here are eight simple steps founders can take to help make their startup’s remote pitch a success.
Do your investor research
Ideally, founders should always be tailoring their pitch to the investor they’re pitching to. This makes it easier to gauge what speaking points to focus on depending on the investor’s background and knowledge of the startup’s industry. Tailoring a pitch in this way is especially important when it comes to remote pitching, as remote pitching can be less engaging by nature. It’s far easier to hold someone’s attention if the story being told is relevant to them and their interests.
Hone your deck
A good pitch is one that relies on the narrator’s story – the pitch deck is really supplemental to that. Simply reading through slides isn’t engaging or interesting. The best way to keep an audience engaged is to craft the deck around the narrative, using the slides to illustrate key points. Realistically, a deck doesn’t need to be more than 10 to 15 slides in length to do this. Anything longer can detract from the most crucial points.
Work on a clear delivery
One major downside to remote pitching is that it makes clear communication harder to achieve. When in presentation mode, it’s more difficult to see people’s facial expressions and body language, two very important communication tools. To make up for this loss, the verbal delivery needs to be strong and easy to understand. Having a clear flow and using simple, concise verbiage can help.
Make room for questions
With adrenaline pumping, it can be easy to just blast through the pitch without stopping. However, investors may have questions, and video chat can make it more difficult to interject. To avoid this, slow down and build natural pauses into the presentation where it makes sense to field questions. This will allow the audience to ask clarifying questions as they come up, rather than trying to remember them all at the end of the presentation.
Set an agenda
A pitch presentation should be relatively brief. To ensure that the time is being used effectively, it can be helpful to create an agenda for your meeting. This will help keep the meeting on track, help with the flow of the meeting, and let the audience know what to expect. It could be as simple as:
- Team & investor intros
- Product demo
- Next steps
Do a run-through
Whether in-person or virtually, doing a full pitch run-through can help ensure things go smoothly when it’s time for the real thing. (It’s very obvious when a team hasn’t spent adequate time preparing.)
In addition to knowing the content, when pitching remotely, a full run-through should help to identify any potential tech or logistical issues. It’s essential to coordinate things like who will be screensharing, who will be navigating the deck, and where the handoff cues are. Having these things down will only add to the confidence of the team while helping ensure the presentation flows well and without any hiccups.
By the time presentation day arrives, the deck and pitch should be polished, everyone should know their cues, and technical elements should be ironed out. Before logging on, make sure that your background is tidy and that there won’t be any interruptions. Once logged in, ensure that the lighting is sufficient; facing a window or utilizing a ring light are two options. Finally, make sure all necessary items are pulled up on your desktop and ready to go.
Debrief with your team
Post-pitch, it can be helpful to have a debrief with the team to go over things that seemed to go well, or things that didn’t, to improve for the future. One excellent feature of Zoom is the ability to record meetings, which makes this process easier. Reviewing this recording afterward can be helpful in ensuring that all loose ends have been tied up and all investor questions have received sufficient answers.
Adjusting to remote pitching may take some adjustment, but it’s really not all that different from an in-person pitch. It all comes down to advance preparation and practice, with a few adjustments to how the information is delivered. With experience, these steps will become second nature to the pitching process.