Prepare to Pitch: Three Tips for Rocket Pitch Presenters
The 19th annual Rocket Pitch is just a few weeks away, and this year’s student and alumni presenters are in the middle of preparing and practicing – and practicing again.
Here are three tips for presenters, from Babson entrepreneurs with pitching experience under their belts.
Know your stuff – but remember that your audience doesn’t
Rachel Pardue ‘19, co-founder and CEO of LOU, doesn’t memorize a script. An incredibly articulate presenter, she has honed her process.
Whether preparing to pitch and represent Babson as the only undergraduate team at B-School Disrupt or practicing for the upcoming Beantown Throwdown, she identifies her key points and then works with the content until she is very comfortable: “I make a list of points I want to hit, and I practice until I can confidently get through the pitch in the correct amount of time no matter how I change my wording. The way I test if I truly know my pitch is if I can do it as soon as I wake up in the morning before I’m even out of bed.”
But, it’s important to remember that the audience does not have the same in-depth knowledge about your industry or product. Hari Mahesh ’19 knows a good pitch when he gives one – or hears one. He is not only a founder, but also a Student Venture Partner with Rough Draft Ventures and helps other entrepreneurs to understand the fundraising and pitching processes. When he was preparing to present his previous venture Exclusive Technologies at the 2017 Rocket Pitch and then at the 2018 Summer Venture Showcase, he kept in mind the audience: “I had to craft my venture idea into a pitch that could be communicated to a large group of investors, advisors, and entrepreneurs, and have it make sense.” He adds, “The one piece of advice that I would give to the presenters is to really think about the fact that you are pitching to a group of people who honestly have never heard of or have any exposure to the problem you are trying to solve and the solution you are trying to build.”
Fake it till you make it
Pitching in front of an audience, whether large or small, can be intimidating. So how should an entrepreneur conquer their fears and calm their nerves? Turns out that the old aphorism “fake it till you make it” is still good advice. Rachel says, “The best advice I can give to entrepreneurs who are getting ready to pitch is to project confidence, and if you’re nervous, fake it. No one will know.”
Stay open to the opportunity
Ultimately, pitching is an opportunity to receive valuable feedback. In fact, Rocket Pitch has a built-in feedback forum – the audience gives each presenter live feedback directly after their pitch.
Thinking back to the 2017 Rocket Pitch, Ravish Majithia MBA’18, CEO and founder of Magnomer, explains how he and his team then leveraged the audience’s comments and questions: “We took note of the type of questions we got and used it to make our pitch more concise.”
Pitching in front of an audience can also help prepare you to sell to customers: “For me, pitching has been an easy way to get a lot of quick feedback on what people find most interesting and valuable about our business as well as what their biggest concerns are. The experience I’ve gained from pitching has helped me perfect how I present LOU to potential customers because I can get straight to highlighting our strongest selling points, and I can be proactive in addressing common concerns,” says Rachel, who is currently driving enterprise sales for LOU.
Still nervous? Don’t fear, the Rocket Pitch audience is there to support you. Ravish reminds this year’s presenters, “Have fun! [Rocket Pitch] is a friendly forum with an audience who wants to see you succeed.”
See some of Babson’s best student and alumni entrepreneurs in action at Rocket Pitch, on Thursday, November 8. Register now and follow the Blank Center on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for Rocket Pitch news and highlights, #babsonrp.