Pitch Competitions Are Great. But Make Sure You're Ready.

She walked onto the stage, understandably nervous, but confident. I watched her look out at the crowd and breathe deep. She then launched her 3-minute pitch about her company and why we should care.

I've been a judge at a variety of  "startup pitch" competitions. I've seen this, or scenarios like it, showcased many times over the years.

Alice is a free platform that helps historically underrepresented business owners start and grow their business. The platform, powered by AI, curates specific articles, resources, and tools to its members and they have a guide focused on how to win a pitch competition.

Five steps they suggestion for winning your pitch competition are:

  • Map Out the Big Vision
  • Identify Your Proof Points
  • Make It Personal
  • Practice, Practice, Practice
  • Review the Judging Criteria

You must clearly map out your vision for the audience (or judges) to grasp where your future is heading. Every startup does not want to be a startup forever.

It's essential to quickly share why you matter, build credibility for the solution you provide, early in your pitch.

Don't just focus on speeds and feeds but connect to the audience and the judges, remember, they're human. Get them to know, like and trust you.

If you think you can just go on the stage and get a standing ovation and have judges voting you a "10", that's not going to happen. I've been a professional speaker for about 20 years and every time I review what I'm going to say and who I'm saying it to. Practice.

Finally, make sure you know what you'll be judged on and focus on that. It's great if you speak about saving the world or how fast your app is, but if that's not what you're judged on, it won't matter much.


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