I recently gave a Perfect your Pitch workshop at the NYC Tech Latinas Meetup Group. Given the mixed membership, people in startups, people wanting to change their careers or people in the early stage of thinking of starting their own business, I figured a higher level discussion of how to prepare, mold and shape your pitch for different situations would be valuable.
Overall, it came down to what do you know about you, what are your goals and how can these things be applied in different contexts with different audiences.
Know your Toolkit
Your standard toolkit are the Who, Whats and Wants about you.
- What do you do?
- Day job vs Bigger Picture of what you do
- Who are you?
- Professional Story
- Personal Story
- What you need
- From situations
- Short term: Attainable and concrete
- Long term
- What can you offer?
- If you are going to be asking for something, you should readily be able to offer something.
Master these categories of your personal toolkit to form a solid story of who you are, what you need and all else to drive towards meeting your goals. When shaping these stories, be sure to highlight what is valuable and/or differentiating about you. Depending on your goal, ask yourself “Who cares?” to see what is relevant and valuable to whomever you plan to approach.
Strategy: Audience and Context
Perception is everything. Know your audience. Understand how your toolkit can be applied for different situations.
If you meet someone working at the company that you want to work at, then in the getting to know you aspect of conversation, highlight your experience that is relevant to him or her. If you are seeking funding and meet an investor, then when talking about your startup highlight the valuable differentiating aspects of your proposed concept. The situations are numerous and one must keep in mind, What do I want this person to remember about me?
Lastly, it is crucial to understand limits. There is the limit of time – you may have 30 seconds or 3 minutes at a networking or pitch event. If it is an event where someone is a speaker, you have to be very clear in your messaging to achieve your goals. Remember a goal can be something small, such as establishing a clear connection to help you work towards your longer term goal. The other limit that can be related to time is someone’s willingness to listen – keep the person engaged and provide valuable information to gain and maintain their interest to get you to the next step – whether it is a meeting, an introduction, or advice.
That is the way to manage the ever evolving pitch. Your toolkit needs to be kept up to date and constantly refined.