The pitch. The mother of all live presentations you’ll have to give. That is, aside from giving a TED talk, but let’s face it – the chances of you getting invited to do a talk are about as high as President Donald J. Trump being a cool guy. Basically, pretty darn low.
We all know the pitch. We know how if you do it properly (and IF you happen to have an actual product and a business model), and if you do it in front of the right people (who’ve heard thousands of inspiring pitches about disrupting and revolutionising industries), it might just make you a couple of millions. Or it might royally mess up your business plans.
From the beginning, we at Puzl CowOrKing have been trying to help our members and the whole startup community in whatever way we can. Lately, our efforts have been focused on helping you not fuck up your pitch and end up on YouTube with the title “STUPIDEST BUSINESS PITCH EVER!” (That’s a thing, by the way. Check it out). Now, we are not really pitch masters, but the folks at 356labs are.
Together we decided to develop a training type of event for pitching, with Boris, Luiza and Rositsa from 356labs leading it. We started it as a kind of a “test” thing, to see how people would respond and used their feedback to polish the format.
So what’s the event about? In short – one person pitches in front of a live audience, which then gives feedback on the pitch itself, the way it is delivered and the presentation design. Think of it as pitching, only without the added stress of your whole business and your future, relying on what you’re gonna say in the next 5 minutes.
Our starting point for the training was the importance of rehearsing the pitch, so that people could deliver if not a very powerful, compelling and unforgettable pitch, at least one that would actually give them a chance of raising some cash. After the first pitches, we noticed that some of the participants could use some feedback on their product/business model, as well.
For each event session, we select one team to step out and pitch. The audience is encouraged to actively engage and ask questions about the product/service and its business model (just like in a reality!). Afterwards the pitch masters from 356labs come out on the stage and offer practical advices that can improve the presentation slides, the story, suggestions on how to better explain a product/service, and tips on talking, using proper body language and all the other small details that you probably won’t notice when practicing alone.
One of the most successful sessions was when Evgeni Mitov pitched The Videonauts. His pitch was a bit insecure and the discussion after it was long and productive. After the session, Evgeni worked with Boris to get ready for the real deal pitching publicly in front of investors. Here is what The Videonauts Founder had to say:
“In general, I am not the best presenter and I can only really deliver information, but can’t present it in a more artistic or engaging way. So this experience was really useful for me. Boris worked with me after the pitching session to help me understand the feedback I had received and improve my attitude on stage. I was a lot more confident the next time I delivered the pitch because of it.
A few important things happened during this test pitch. First, I went out of my comfort zone - I was in a situation as similar as possible to real pitching in front of VC’s. They would tear you apart as no one will give you money if they don’t believe in you, not only as a specialist in your professional field, but also as a reliable person who can’t be provoked. I also improved my skills quite a lot. We did several meetings with Boris in which he guided me and provided me with constructive advice. The event itself was also great – about 25 people joined the audience and bombarded me with tons of questions about my startup and its business model.”
Evgeni Mitov, Co-founder The Videonauts
In case you’re planning to start your entrepreneur journey, you’ll have to get ready for the dreaded pitch moment. And any experience you can get will help you out incredibly. You can start right away at one of our upcoming Pitch Station events. Trust me, you’ll benefit even from participating in the audience.
The Next Pitch Station is scheduled for May 29. Join the audience to hear the pitch for a financial/investment tool that Valentin and Chris are just starting.
Alex is a designer at Puzl CowOrKing. He's also the very first member of the coworking, back when the space was just a 30 sqm room with 6 desks.