Creating a Quick Pitch

ForumspeakerA Quick Pitch is similar to an Elevator Pitch, in that you are trying to deliver an actionable message to your listener in a short amount of time. However, a Quick Pitch takes place within more defined context, such as a competition, and is specifically done in front of an audience.

Consider the case of a 1-minute business idea quick pitch competition. Your goal with the audience is to get their time, money, or vote for your team or project. You may be trying to generate a buzz that could energize early adopters, win a competition, or just determine if your idea has legs. You will be one of many pitches that the audience will hear, so you need to stand out and be memorable.

The Basics

Your pitch needs to include several basic elements. Having these elements does not guarantee a good pitch, but omitting them will certainly prevent your pitch from succeeding.

  1. Name your company, product, or project. If you don’t have a good name for it, nobody will even be able to refer to it. The name should be easy to remember (and spell). It does not need to be your final trademarked brand. It just needs to get you through this pitch competition.
  2. Explain your value. Justify your existence by the value you are delivering to your clients. A product that delivers no value or solves no problem has no chance to succeed and no reason to be memorable. Make sure you communicate your value proposition.
  3. Make your ask. If this pitch competition is more than a feel-good exercise or class drill then you want something from your audience. You may want them to join your team, buy your product, fund your company, or vote for you to win. You cannot get a “yes” if you do not ask the question. Explicitly make the “ask”.
  4. Show your model. How is this project going to sustain itself financially? Will it charge its clients, get income from third parties (such as advertisers or vendors), take commissions, receive government grant funding, get donations from individuals, etc.? Your model shows how your company or project will sustain itself over time and/or create value for its owners.

The Story

Once you have all of the basic elements in mind, you can design the meat of your pitch to incorporate these elements in a memorable and compelling story. There are a variety of strategies you can use to accomplish this, so choose one or more of the elements below and craft your pitch around that.

Compelling Value Proposition

Highlight your compelling value proposition through a client story that incorporates these 3 elements:

  1. What is life currently like for your clients, without your solution? What are the problems they have and what attempts have they made to solve these problems (ideally with great effort and little results)?
  2. What is your solution that addresses these problems? What additional benefits flow from your solution that add value beyond just reducing the problem?
  3. What is life going to like for your clients, with your solution?

Personal Story

microphoneWe all love to hear personal stories. It may be your personal story, the personal story of a client, or even the imagined story of a future client. You can use the story to highlight how important the problem is, how innovative your solution is, or how much better life is for the subject with your solution. The best story is one in which each audience member can personally feel as if they or somebody they know are the main character of the story.  If they come away from the story imagining themselves using your product, then they will remember your product and might even be your next customers. Engage your audience on an emotional level, rather than just on an intellectual level.

Pitch Timing

clock-clipartSo how do you make best use of that precious one minute? There are no firm rules for timing, but the outline below is a good framework with which to start:

  • [10 sec] Introduce and sell yourself
  • [20 sec] Describe the problem you want to solve. What is your client’s life currently like?
  • [15 sec] Describe your solution. What will your client’s life be like?
  • [10 sec] What is your source of income/revenue?
  • [5 sec] What help do you need?

Many people think through what they want to pitch and then just stand up and do it. The result? They ramble on about the problem for the first 50 seconds, realize they are running out of time, and try to cram everything else into the last ten seconds as they are being escorted off the stage. Don’t be one of those people!

The solution? Practice your pitch with a stopwatch. Write down your pitch and then time yourself giving it. Then practice again and again. If you want to see how it sounds, ask a friend or family member to listen to your pitch and give you feedback. Or, video yourself with your phone and watch yourself. You will be amazed at what you see. Then fix it and practice again until you are doing the pitch you want to be doing.

Good luck!