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The Art Of The Pitch (#startupchats)

On May 15, I participated in a #startupchats hosted by Startup Canada, on the topic: “The Art Of The Pitch“.

The highlights of the Twitter conversation are on Startup Canada’s Storify page, and duplicated below.

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The Art of the Pitch


On May 15, we chatted with Coach Davender Gupta, Venture Catalyst – Accélérateur d’entrepreneuriat, Startup-Académie to discuss why pitching is important and share some do’s and don’ts of crafting a perfect pitch.

An entrepreneur’s pitch can be as important as their business plan. It’s the piece that sets you up for meetings, investment, partnerships, and new opportunities. Join us for a chat that explores why pitching is important and shares some do’s and don’ts of crafting a perfect pitch.


  1. Welcome to today’s #startupchats. We’re talking with@coachdavender on The Art of the Pitch. Join in with you questions.
  2. Q1: Why is having a good pitch important? #startupchats
  3. .@Startup_Canada Your pitch is the story of your idea. It gets clients, investors, partners, stakeholders excited #startupchats
  4. .@Startup_Canada Your pitch is not just about getting money, it’s how you turn your idea into a business. #startupchats
  5. .@Startup_Canada Your pitch is the story of your idea. It gets clients, investors, partners, stakeholders excited #startupchats
  6. @Startup_Canada A1 because it communicates your value proposition to your target audiences. It tells them why they should care #startupchats
  7. .@startup_canada Who are we talking about pitching to?? Clients? Investors? Business partners? #startupchats
  8. .@Socially_Good @startup_canada First, let’s define “pitch” as the verbal presentation of your project #startupchats
  9. Q2: What are the key elements of a good pitch? #startupchats
  10. .@Startup_Canada Your “pitch” is the verbal presentation of your business idea. First: you need a story that resonates #startupchats
  11. .@Startup_Canada Lead with the “problem”: the pain or the desire that causes your prospect to seek a solution #startupchats
  12. .@Socially_Good @startup_canada People don’t want to know what you do, they want to know what you can do for them#startupchats
  13. I also believe it depends of the audience. It’s important to know your audience, to master the way you will get the msg out#startupchats
  14. @StephanieMbida Definitely. The emotional response you want to evoke (& action you want to trigger) depends on the audience#startupchats
  15. @StephanieMbida That is why there is no “one pitch fits all”#startupchats
  16. @Startup_Canada A2 simplicity, clarity and underatanding the context in which it is being told #startupchats
  17. Q3: How important is story-telling? How should it come into play in a pitch? #startupchats
  18. @Startup_Canada People remember stories. Stories evoke emotion. Emotion triggers action. Reason (=facts) justifies action.#startupchats
  19. Storytelling = Act 1. The suffering / Act 2. The decision / Act 3. The search / Act 4. The boon / Act 5. The Celebration #startupchats
  20. @Startup_Canada Much of the work I do with my clients is to bring an emotional element to their pitch #startupchats
  21. @coachdavender @Startup_Canada How important is the WHY in the Startup Pitch? #startupchats
  22. .@SuzanneMGrant @Startup_Canada The WHY = the why for them not the why for you #startupchats
  23. @coachdavender @Startup_Canada What type of emotions are you usually looking for? #startupchats
  24. @StephanieMbida Emotions I’m looking for: Relief, hope. B2C = Make me better, stronger, smarter, sexier, richer (1/2)#startupchats
  25. @StephanieMbida (2/2) Emotions for B2B: More “logical” – more profitable, stronger, better than competition, remove risk#startupchats
  26. We’re hearing that the “why” and the emotion of the story are essential elements to a good pitch. #startupchats
  27. Q4: What sort of research should go into your pitch? #startupchats
  28. @Startup_Canada Research = Each word needs to be weighed, measured, tested. You have to write and rewrite your script#startupchats
  29. @Startup_Canada (Research) – Entrepreneurs want to wing it – but the wrong word can trigger wrong emotion #startupchats
  30. @Startup_Canada Also research who your audience is and how they make their decision. Each VC is different #startupchats
  31. @Startup_Canada A4: knowing your target audience is also essential to Taylor your pitch #startupchats
  32. @coachdavender @Startup_Canada Really interesting. I guess the question I have is to know WHAT words to use? #startupchats
  33. @StephanieMbida @Startup_Canada To choose what words to use, I have to know what is the outcome I want #startupchats
  34. Q5: Should you have different pitches for different audiences? Or does one size truly fit all? #startupchats
  35. @Startup_Canada Definitely, different pitches for different audiences. 60-sec (elevator), 5-7 min, 15-20min #startupchats
  36. @Startup_Canada (A5) In common: “problem desc”, “value prop”, “target market”. The longer ones go into detail on biz plan#startupchats
  37. @Startup_Canada Definitely difft pitches for difft audiences! Without preparing these, its easy to lose potential clients!#startupchats
  38. @Startup_Canada General hint: Don’t try to answer all the questions in the pitch, choose words that trigger the q’s U want#startupchats
  39. @coachdavender @Startup_Canada There is a lot of psychology in the pitch, I haven’t noticed before 🙂 #startupchats
  40. Q6: What is one of the top mistakes entrepreneurs make with their pitches? #startupchats
  41. @Startup_Canada (A6) – Mistakes = No practice, go over time, cheap visuals, ratty clothing (I hate jeans+hoodie presentations)#startupchats
  42. @Startup_Canada (A6) I say to all startups who are serious about raising money through pitches: Join #Toastmasters #startupchats
  43. @Startup_Canada Presentation is a fundamental skill for all startups, take the time to master it. #startupchats
  44. @Startup_Canada A6 making it too complicated and telling the story from their perspective not the audience’s #startupchats
  45. A6: Not be prepared. We sometimes assume we know our audience enough #startupchats
  46. @Startup_Canada (A6) There also needs a logical flow to the points. You are building a story. So it takes lots of revision#startupchats
  47. @Startup_Canada (A6) You can’t leave pitch prep to the last minute. It needs to be done concurrently with biz plan writing#startupchats
  48. Mistakes @coachdavender says to avoid: No practice, go over time, cheap visuals, ratty clothing (I hate jeans+hoodie pres)#startupchats
  49. @Startup_Canada (A6) Another mistake: not testing your pitch beforehand. Present it to lots of people, get feedback.#startupchats
  50. Q7: What are 3 ‘Do’s’ to keep in mind when crafting the perfect pitch? #startupchats
  51. @Startup_Canada (A7) – DO write your script. DO practice. DO revisions #startupchats
  52. @Startup_Canada (A7) Visuals: DO use more pictures than text. DO write big text. DO use graphic designer #startupchats
  53. @Startup_Canada (A7) Another DO – Got a team? ONE person is responsible for pitch prep and delivery #startupchats
  54. Q8: What are 3 ‘Don’ts’ to keep in mind when crafting your pitch?#startupchats
  55. @Startup_Canada DON’T try to say everything (or not enough). This is why practice and testing is needed to get balance#startupchats
  56. @Startup_Canada DON’T pull an all-nighter before delivering your pitch (been there). 🙂 #startupchats
  57. @Startup_Canada DON’T try to be an entertainer. If you say a joke and it falls flat (it probably will) then you’re done. #startupchats
  58. @Startup_Canada Again, DON’T leave pitch prep to the last minute. Start early, get help (presentation, graphics, feedback).#startupchats
  59. @Startup_Canada Think about it: If you’re trying to raise $$$, it’s your pitch that opens the door. Your pitch is worth $$$!#startupchats
  60. Q9: What’s the best way to close/end your pitch? #startupchats
  61. @Startup_Canada (A9) Always start with: My name is, this is (biz name), We (one-sentence branding stmt). Finish with the same.#startupchats
  62. @Startup_Canada The first words set the stage, the last words should echo in their minds. #startupchats
  63. @coachdavender @startup_canada agreed! Definitely tell your audience what you told them in the beginning. #startupchats
  64. @Startup_Canada (A9) Memorize your first and last sentences. This helps to anchor your presentation and reduce nervousness.#startupchats
  65. @Startup_Canada (A9) And NEVER end with “Thank You”. (Too Canadian!!) #startupchats
  66. Q10: Are there any resources startups can refer to for help with pitching? (ie: books, blogs, people?) #startupchats
  67. That wraps up today’s #startupchats on The Art of the Pitch w special guest @coachdavender. Thank you very much for the excellent advice!
  68. @Startup_Canada Phew! Time went so fast! If anyone wants help/feedback on pitches please contact me #startupchats
  69. @coachdavender it was a pleasure to chat with you – great job and great advice! #startupchats


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