Power of the Pitch: How to Make the Best Possible Impression with Only a Minute to Work

It’s amazing how powerful one minute can be for an entrepreneur.

Every entrepreneur has imagined the moment where they will have to boil down their life’s work into a few catchphrases. For many, even the mere thought of it can become a source of anxiety.

Fortunately, there are many resources out there that focus on tailoring the perfect pitch. The Founder Institute’s Montreal chapter has looked to be one of them and it’s looking to create a burst of activity around its Spring Semester launch. The world’s largest startup accelerator has moved into gear with a series of events designed to attract budding entrepreneurs.

Chris Arsenault from iNovia Capital, Caithrin Rintoul from Provender, and Startup NEXT managing director Mike Grandinetti came together to talk about what a perfect pitch means.

The event then turned the panel on its head by getting audience members to deliver pitches to the mix of prominent entrepreneurs and investors before them.

It was the perfect way to deliver lessons imparted from years of building and evaluating businesses.

The panel of entrepreneurs and investors explained four key principles.

First, you should make a pitch relevant to the people you are targeting.

There’s no point of weaving a series of metaphors: there has to be a clear call to action that others can rally around and support. You aren’t pitching for your own pleasure, you’re pitching so that other people will help you build out your dream. Your pitch has to be relevant to them for it to matter.

Second, you should prove that you’re an expert in your startup field.

You should have subject matter expertise, special knowledge that gives you a leg up in front of anybody chasing the same dream. If your startup is building robots, you shouldn’t hesitate to bring up that stint at the MIT Media Lab. Investors need to know that the people behind the idea are able to execute on it better than anybody else.

Third, you should show validation for your idea.

The not-so-hidden truth of the startup world is that nobody knows what they’re doing. In order for a startup to be viable, it has to straddle a line somewhere between lunacy and genius. It has to tease out secrets that nobody has thought of before. Any sign of proof that you’ve gotten there will help more than any fables you can string together.

Finally, you should give a key insight you hold that nobody else does.

This is where you should reverse the expectations of your investors. They came in with certain assumptions around the world and your job is to knock some of them down with a hidden kernel of truth you’ve unleashed. One can only imagine a young Mark Zuckerberg talking about how billion-dollar social networks were bound to spring up from close-knit university communities.

All this comes together into a powerful, meaningful pitch that begins with an introduction about you, but then ends with a resonant call to action for the people you’re pitching. If you’ve used your one minute well, it will hold more power and promise for you than a year’s worth of toil.