How to be pitch perfect

Pitch Perfect.jpg

Last night was the first time Azure got validation from a third party. I entered into a competition organised by the Humanities at Oxford University. The finals boiled down to 5 participants. We were invited to practice our pitch… 

Have you ever watched yourself on film? It’s not the ‘add 10 pounds’ bit that bothers me, it’s the: ‘add 10 years’ that was fatal to my ego. 

Once I got over the shock, I looked again and again and again, obsessively, just like that car crash. My tactic was simple: what are the ticks I am not aware of (I tend to close my eyes for a little too long when I’m trying to make a point; my version of ostrich). There’s also the timing, body language, speed of speech, etc. etc. 

Bottom line: I spent 4 hours each night for about 2 days rehearsing a 5 min pitch. It’s absolutely maddening if you work your pitch hard enough so you know exactly which words need to be said, at what speed, for a specific effect. 

Here are the lessons I learned for this first pitch of 5 min

  • Clarity: who are you? What are you selling?

  • Pace: Keep a good calm and steady pace of speech (many go too fast when they’re nervous)

  • Hook them with a story

  • Audience: it’s absolutely essential to know who you are talking to. I introduce Azure as a social enterprise or as a business depending on who’s in the room.

  • Who is your customer? What is their need? How are you going to reach them?

  • You: Why are you the right person to make this business work?

  • Scalable? Can you expand your empire..!?

  • Strategy? How are you going to expand that empire..!?

  • Feasibility? Realistically, is this empire of yours ever going to exist..?

I tried hard to boil all this down to 6 slides and 5 min. It worked. Azure won :-)