Practice Your Pitch: Techniques for Success

26 Aug 2016

Jake Fisher

Jake Fisher is the founding partner at Venture Formations. Jake serves as a startup advisor helping entrepreneurs through the funding process.

Everyone wants to have an effective presentation that really captivates their audience’s attention. If you are unprepared and relying too much on a script or reading directly from the slides, you’re in for trouble. In order to have a successful presentation, you must communicate with your audience. Communicating with the audience means having the perfect delivery style, and that means you need to spend some time rehearsing beforehand. Everybody always says that you must practice your pitch for an outstanding presentation, but they hardly ever share how to do so.

The following are some of the best techniques that should be used when you practice your pitch:

Practice your pitch out loud

There are many different ways to rehearse a presentation. It’s important that you do more than just mentally rehearse the speech while lying in bed or while driving to give the presentation. While practicing this way has some benefit, it’s not ideal. The thoughts we have are not exactly eloquent words that should be used when presenting. By only mentally going over your speech, you might find that when it’s time to present, you end up stumbling over your words or lose your train of thought.

The best solution to avoid an awkward situation is to rehearse out loud. Practicing out loud will also help reveal if there are any mistakes or missing content in the presentation.

Rehearse in a similar situation

This technique involves finding a situation similar to the one you will be presenting in and practicing your presentation there. Find an empty conference room and gather some co-workers or friends and present to them. This can be difficult in some settings, but it can help with the nervousness during the actual presentation. Practicing this way can make it feel like you have already given the presentation, as it provides experience. When you are prepared to face your audience, you will appear more confident.

Using this rehearsal technique can also give you some insight as to the audience’s reaction, allowing you a chance to modify your presentation if necessary. Rehearsing will definitely not dissipate the anxiety completely, but it will prepare you for the actual presentation and give you the tools you need to successfully tackle it.


Also on StartupNation.com: Rules of Pitch Deck Slide Design


Use a mirror

Practice your presentation while standing in front of a mirror. You may feel silly, but it is an excellent technique. Practicing in front of a mirror allows you to see firsthand how you conduct yourself while presenting. This gives you the opportunity to assess your body language and make changes.

Body language plays a huge role in how well the presentation is conducted. Presenting yourself in a professional manner is vital to the success of your presentation. Most importantly, this technique allows you to both hear and see your delivery style, giving you the chance to rectify any mistakes before presenting.

Record the speech

Record yourself giving a practice run of the presentation with your cell phone. You might dislike listening to yourself through a recording, but trust me, this technique is helpful. If you find yourself bored while listening to the speech, your audience will likely have a similar reaction, so make it interesting!

When listening to a recorded speech, you are able to easily hear mistakes or find gaps where content is missing. The recording will also give you the opportunity to listen to and assess your delivery style and make adjustments if necessary.

Practice the whole speech

Rehearse the whole speech from beginning to end. You might think that you always practice the entire thing, but often times when using any of the above mentioned practices, one tends to stop as soon as they encounter a mistake. Doing so renders the rehearsal and breaks the flow.

This can become a problem when actually presenting, as you may end up stopping at the same points while giving the presentation as you did while practicing. By running through the entire presentation from beginning to end, this can be avoided.

It’s important to be prepared in all aspects of life, including being well prepared for a startup pitch. My best advice is to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

Related Posts

Steve Case
AOL Co-Founder Steve Case on AppleLink in “The Third Wave” [Book Excerpt]
Funding
Busting the Myths of Small Business Funding
Slide Design
6 Simple Rules of Pitch Deck Slide Design