9 tips from an expert

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

Quite a lot of people, unfortunately. Luckily for them, pitching coach David Beckett is here to help.

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

In 2013, Beckett founded Best3Minutes, which provides in-person and online training in his method. The techniques have now been taught to more than 1,800 startups and scaleups, which have gone on to raise over €420 million between them.

“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 València on March 30, Beckett will provide his latest pitching workshop. Ahead of the session, he shared some of his top tips for startups.

1. Tune in to your audience

Your pitch needs to align with the desires of your audience. Who are they? What’s important to them? How can you impress them?

Imagine you’ve created a crypto-powered parking app. You could expound on the benefits of storing driver data on a distributed ledger, but few people enjoy torture by blockchain.

”When we work on something day in, day out, we often just want to tell people about what we’ve built — but the audience might not care at all,” says Beckett.

“The execution comes from your product, process, and team.

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

That example, however, may not enthral everyone. To make your audience do what you want, you need to know who they are.

2. Focus on the problem and solution

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

A human problem makes the issues more relatable. What does the pain result in? How big is the problem? Will people pay to solve it? How have you validated that? Investors want these answers.

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

3. Establish a clear objective

A successful pitch results in action. The ultimate target is often a set investment, but startups normally need to take a different first step. It could be a follow-up meeting, an introduction, or scanning a QR code that shows the audience further information. The most important outcome is maintaining a connection.