“If you were trying to pick Kaye up in a bar, is that really what you’d say?” Hanadi, Accelerate’s Director, asked one of the Acceleratees in amusement. Kaye, our coach, maintained a regal neutrality. The parallel was entertaining, and also clear. The day’s task of creating & delivering a compelling value proposition shared similarities with the moment when one first approaches the object of their affections; sweaty palms, butterflies in the stomach and mind filled with what they presume to be a swoon-worthy opening line.
This week was all about the delivery itself; the pitch. One by one teams gave a 5 minute pitch of their company/idea to the rest of the group.
Some approached with a confident swagger, and delivered a powerful message or humour. Personally I loved one humorous pitch where we started off by meeting Bob. Bob had energy management troubles. However, Hanadi’s point about humour being a potentially dangerous tool was very valid.
Others, (counting ourselves here!) had a less confident delivery; reminiscent of those times when you’ve got something good to say, but somehow at the moment of truth the right words are out of your grasp, and you awkwardly mumble something along the lines of “coffee has a lovely smile and we should go sometime.”
In terms of content, presentations spanned the spectrum from dense to hyperminimal. And the consensus was, somewhere in between is the sweet spot.
After the pitching session, we got the run down on what makes a great pitch, and the key points needed to sweep a potential stakeholder off their feet.
I really enjoyed the learning by doing. With a techy background, it’s not often I find myself pitching. I realised the style is very different to the more dispassionate and explanatory presentations one might give on a new technology or algorithm in my field. My main takeaways were to see a pitch as a story, to have a strong message and to have lots of practice.
I look forward to our second chance next week!
The author of this blog is Tejas Shah of Synced.