Mixed Signals

When pitching your venture, it is vital that you properly assess your surroundings. Hopefully prior to presenting your venture you've also done advance preparation.

Imagine yourself as a baseball pitcher on the mound and your audience as the batter. This is where we diverge from the baseball comparison (at least of a regular game). You need to think about pitching for a home run derby because you want your audience to connect with your pitch.

What does this mean in terms of how you present? It means you need to be aware of your audience and the cues you are picking up from their eye contact and body language. If you don't pick up on the signals, your pitch may miss connecting with your audience.

How do you avoid missing connections with your audience? You must create a variety of pitches you can pull from at will. Having a variety of pitches will allow you to adjust your presentation based a number of cues:

  • Control - Are you presenting to a captive audience? If yes, they are expecting your pitch and hopefully are engaged. If you don't have a captive audience, you need to be interesting and keep their attention.

  • Time - How much time do you have to pitch your venture? If you are presenting at a timed event, practice to ensure you are well within the limit (you don't want to be cutoff). How much time is reasonable for you to expect from the audience? If you are thinking elevator pitch you likely have 30 seconds or less. You must be aware of your timing.

  • Context - Use context clues to identify your approach. Did you just meet at a networking event? If so start with a brief nugget and see if they are interested. If the audience isn't interested you have saved your time and theirs. Don't feel obligated to over pitch to someone.

Download our free Pitch template to craft your pitches and positioning. Don't hesitate to reach out with questions or feedback.