Five Tips That Take a Pitch From Good to Great

Five Tips That Take a Pitch From Good to Great

Five Tips That Take a Pitch From Good to Great

Writen by: Tamar Efrat

The local events of the Global EdTech Startups Awards (GESA 2016) will start in two days, with a great event at the western U.S. region.  In every event, there will be at least 10 startups that will pitch their ideas and product, and we thought this is a great opportunity to give you some winning tips about how to pitch, or moreover, how to standout and be remarkable.

Start with a hook.

What’s a hook? That’s the one to three sentences you start your pitch with. You have to capture, draw your audience in, grab them and bring them to the edge of their seats, and make them want to hear what you have to say next.

A hook can be a prop or a visual aid like a video. It can also be a provocative sentence that will make the audience feel uncomfortable, or a waking-call for their curiosity. It can be a short-story, an interesting quote, or even a joke.

Here is an example that I like, of how to start your pitch, even though it is not a startup pitch, you can learn a lot from it:

In this Ted talk, Career Analyst Dan Pink, catches the audience’s full attention by arousing their urge to know what will follow.

Here’s a tip: do NOT start with a question, this trick is definitely over-used. If you do decide to start with a question, don’t make it a trivial one. Let your audience think, challenge them.

The Gift.

Or in other words – how to communicate with a big audience and make it personalized?

It’s a hard job to stand in front of a big audience and pitch your idea. But the great thing about it, is that you can make it much more intimate. Instead of looking at an unknown spot far in the back of the room, or give your full energy only to a few people, you should divide your attention and give small bites to everyone.

So what is the gift? In every moment, choose a person in the audience, look deep into his or her eyes, and for a few seconds give them your gift. The gift is the attention and communication you create with that person. The people who sits around this person, will also feel like they received your gift. Don’t skip any spot in the room, everyone has to feel that they got your gift.

This is a fantastic way to communicate with your audience and leave a deep impression.

The tree.

It is already a known fact that body language has a huge impact. The way you are standing while you are pitching is a crucial criteria for the impression you are going to leave on your audience. Do you put your hand in your pockets? Do you travel all around the stage? Maybe you are playing with some prop while talking?

One of the tricks for standing right while pitching is the “Tree standing”. Get up from your cozy chair (yes right now) and jump. The position you landed in, that is the position you should be standing in on the stage. Both feet are stable on the ground, the head stretched up with an imaginary string, and your hands are resting on the sides of your body. Just like a tree.

Here’s a tip: just before you go up on stage, jump a few times. It will release some stress, give you energy and remind you how you should stand.


There are three levels of toning on stage, level one is the one where almost no-one hears you, level two is the level you want to be in, and level three is way to loud. Ask your friends to help you determine which level is your tone, they will be able to say if you need to speak louder or quieter.

Another important tip is to not be monotonous. If you have something important to say, let the audience know its important using your tone! If you are talking about something sad, maybe you should try to keep it a bit quiet. Adjust your toning to the context of your pitch.

Be prepared.

This section is the most obvious one, but actually it deserved its own post.

Being prepared is much more than knowing what you are going to say. Being prepared is to know who your audience is, adjust the pitch according to your goal (winning a contest? Presenting to investors?), memorizing it enough but not too much so you don’t recite it, etc.…

In the context of this post, being prepared is to start watching other people pitches, notice their hook, their gifts and their standing. Are they doing it right? You can learn from their success as well as from their mistakes. Analyze a few pitches, and then try it yourself, preferably in front of an audience that you know and can give you feedback.

There is much more to tell about pitching, and many more tips, but the best one I can give is just to remember to have fun up there!

The tips in this post are based on the course “Business Communications” I took during my MBA, given by Ms. Abigail Tenembaum and Mr. Michael Weitz – both TED Global Speakers’ Trainers.

The writer is Tamar Efrat, Community Manager at MindCET.