Practice makes (pitch) perfect!


Yesterday we talked a bit about the schedule for #SWPerth, what you need bring and the like. Today we’re focusing on Friday night and a topic that is on the tips of most people’s tongues – pitching!

Based on previous experience, about 50% of Startup Weekend-ers pitch their idea for the “next big thing” on Friday night. If you’re one of them then that means there are 49 other people out there who are just as nervous about getting up in front of an audience of their peers; and there are 49 other people against whom you’ll be vying for attention, so make sure your idea stands out.

First, let’s start with the ground rules:

  • Startup Weekend is for new ideas only. If you’ve already been working on something (whether you’ve cut 1 line of code or 1,000) then you’d best leave that idea at home and come up with something new.
  • You have got 60 seconds (maximum!) to pitch your idea, excite the crowd and (hopefully!) win over a team. You only get one pitch, so make sure it’s your best.
  • Props are OK, slides are not… This is rapid-fire pitching, so don’t faff about!

Now for some tips:

  • Time is of the essence: Practise your pitch as many times as you can, preferably with a friend timing you. Remember, you’re going to be nervous, you might stumble over words or forget something – it’s better to have a few seconds up your sleeve than try to use the entire minute then find yourself out of time when something goes wrong.
  • Yes, your idea is important – it’s vital to express it as simply as you possibly can, tell us why it’s amazing and inspire people to join your team. But don’t forget to tell us a bit about yourself too – what skills do you bring to the table and why should people work with you? And, perhaps most important of all, what do you need to pull it off – are you looking for developers, designers, marketers, sales people, project managers or some other skill set?
  • A picture tells a thousand words: Your pitch is crucial, but to help get your message across (and remind everyone who you are and why your idea is so awesome) you might want to make an A2 poster beforehand, detailing the above.
  • If you’re struggling with your pitch, we recommend Pollenizer’s Universal Pitch Deck – it’s about as simple and effective a template as you’ll find!

Before we let you get back to finetuning your pitch, a couple of things to remember about what immediately follows the pitches on Friday evening (and the most important element of Startup Weekend): TEAMS!

  • Startup Weekend is all about teams. Ideas attract people, but it is the team that actually takes your idea and turns it into a startup.
  • If your idea is not picked on Friday, you’re going to have to choose a team to join.
  • Be aware of what you can add to a team, seek out the idea you most fancy and be brave. Get into it. You might meet your next bunch of besties.

For more tips and teasers check out the FAQs and if you’ve still got any questions email or ask the crowd via the SWPerth2012 Yammer network.

Happy pitch practising!