How to Pivot Your Pitch and Go Online

Pitch at the BETA Challenge

COVID-19 is quickly changing the environment for startups.

But, for promising ventures with lots of upside, there are still many opportunities to move forward.

You can still get an audience with investors. You can still participate in a pitch competition. The catch—you’ve got to do it online. You need to be ready to deliver an amazing pitch in a virtual setting.

Here are some tips to make your pitch shine when you can’t be there in person.

Amp Up Your Delivery

In a virtual setting, it takes extra effort to convey the energy and passion you would show during an in-person pitch. You need to work that much harder to keep someone’s attention; people naturally find it hard to watch something online without being distracted if it isn’t engaging.

This doesn’t mean waving your arms around and talking loudly. Rather, this is about using your facial expression, tone of voice, eye contact (look right at the camera), and words to inject energy and emotion into your pitch.

Try practicing in front of a mirror or recording yourself on your phone up close. Gauge how your facial expressions and tone of voice can work harder to support your talk track.

Revisit Your Pitch

Can you articulate the pitch differently? This could mean shifting some emphasis on key points from your current pitch, using tighter sentences, or adding memorable stories.

Watch the B.E.T.A. Challenge Semfinalists at the 2020 Venture Expo (Online) on April 1. Register »

Think about what you want the audience to feel about your startup and find places to dial up the emotion connected to your venture. What’s your big vision? How are you changing the world and for whom? A dry, bland pitch is very hard to relate to, especially online. Give it life, give it color!

Stand Up

Just as you’d stand when pitching in person, stand when pitching online.

Set up your computer so that it’s level to you standing. Standing up will allow you to breathe better as you speak and engage your body, which will add to the energy you put forward.

Check Your Ego

In-person pitches require you to handle some emotions during the pitch that can be hard or make you feel defensive.

The same goes for a virtual pitch. You may get feedback that you weren’t expecting, or that feels negative. Be prepared for this. Remember to not get defensive. Show that you are open to other people’s ideas, and that you are thoughtful and coachable. These are important characteristics investors look for in an entrepreneur they might back.

Follow Up

After the meeting, be sure to write a thank you email to the investor, judge, or mentor whom you pitched. Share some things you learned from their feedback, or provide an answer to something you couldn’t answer during the pitch.

Even if they didn’t set up a next step after you pitched, ask if you can put them on your email list so you can keep them updated on your progress. Your startup may become relevant to them at another point in time.


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