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9 tips from an expert

Ah, the joys of pitching. Your entire master plan squeezed into a few sentences, a room of powerful strangers with your future in their hands, and only seconds to impress them. Who doesn’t love a quick dip in a shark tank?

A lot of people unfortunately. Lucky for them, pitching coach David Beckett is there to help.

Beckett has spent decades mastering the art of public speaking. He first honed his skills through over 1,000 corporate presentations during 16 years at Canon, before moving on to the sharper craft of startup pitches.

Beckett was founded in 2013 Best 3 Minutes, which offers in-person and online training in its method. The techniques have now been taught to more than 1,800 startups and scale-ups, who together have raised more than € 420 million.

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“My goal is not to tell people what to say,” Beckett tells TNW. “My goal is to give them a framework to find their story, practice it, and make it land with their audience.”

At TNW Valencia on March 30, Beckett will teach his latest pitching workshop. Before the session, he shared some of his top tips for startups.

1. Tune in to your audience

Your pitch must match the wishes of your audience. Who are they? What do they care about? How can you impress them?

Imagine you created a crypto-powered parking app. You could explain the benefits of storing driver data in a distributed ledger, but few people enjoy blockchain torture.

“A lot of times when we’re working on something day in and day out, we just want to tell people what we’ve built, but the public might not care at all,” says Beckett.

“Execution comes from your product, process and team.

A more powerful pitch illustrates a real-world impact. You could say (if it’s true of course) that people waste 20 minutes every day looking for a parking space. With the click of a button, your app shortens the time to 60 seconds.

However, this example may not appeal to everyone. To get your audience to do what you want, you need to know who they are.

2. Focus on the problem and the solution

Your pitch should focus on pain and gain. This should fit into a simple statement that shows what you can do for customers.

A human problem makes the problems more recognizable. What causes the pain? How big is the problem? Will people pay to fix it? How did you validate that? Investors want these answers.

“Things that especially trigger them are the size of the opportunity and the execution against that opportunity,” says Beckett. “And the execution part is product, progress, and team.”

3. Set a clear goal

A successful pitch results in action. The ultimate goal is often a fixed investment, but startups normally have to take another first step. This can be a follow-up conversation, an introduction or scanning a QR code that shows the public more information. The main result is keeping a connection.

David Beckett – Pitch Coach