Shark Tank

I’m really sick of these startup pitches. Their businesses are usually miles apart, but listening to their pitches make them sound all the same. It’s so damn generic!

“So… how do we solve this?”
“With out us…users…would be lost…”
“We help grow online communities…to reach their full, potential”
“This is a $500…million dollar market…If we reach…10% of this market, we’ll be successful”
“Our Team consists of myself…I have a background in, X….Y…. and Z….And My partner..and co-founder, Jim….Has a bachelors, from XYZ…And Together….we’re an unstoppable team.”
“We make it…rediculously easy…for…” HereHere n here and here are some bad pitches.

Ugh I’m going to throw up! I’ve been pitching for 5+ years, so I know I’ve fallen into these traps, but now I’m glad I don’t do this anymore..These generic pitches are great by the way, but not for the startups. For YOU. If everyone else is acting like a sheep, be the shepherd. Okay, that’s not very constructive, so let’s get right into it. By the way, I entered the YetiZen pitch competition that’s happening during GDC. If my company gets chosen to pitch, I’ll try and get someone to record it so that I can post it up here.

A pitch is all about selling yourself and your idea and hoping your audience says yes. The first thing that you need to know is your value. Social value. As a society, we grasp onto people with higher or equal social value, so that we can better survive. Associating yourself with someone of lower value, reduces your value in the eyes of everyone else. So how do you perceive and display your social value? When there is someone on the street trying to ask you for a survey or to try their product, they say “Excuse me…” in a way that they know you’re going to reject them. Their tonality says “I have no social value and need something from you. PLEASE don’t reject me.” Now if you display that you need someone to like you, that’s low social value. Your value should come from within, not from outside. You need to love yourself and perceive yourself with high value before anyone else will, and that actually takes a lot of work. If you’re constantly agreeing and laughing at everything someone says, you’re displaying low social value because you’re trying to get them to like you. If you talk quickly, people perceive that you often get dismissed, so you try and talk faster so people will listen. If people don’t listen to you and you display that, you have low social value. If you had high social value, people would listen to you and there would be no reason you’d have to rush through what you’re saying.

Just like an investor, you may perceive has more value than you so you need to be nice, suck up, and hopefully get their approval and investment. You can’t beg. You just can’t do that. You need to perceive your value at level 10000000 and that’s it. When you do that, people will flock to you. Talk slow, use the tonality you use when you talk to a good friend. You’re not trying to get anything from your friend, your tonality isn’t begging them to talk to you.

The number one most important thing when pitching a business is confidence. Why should your audience buy it if you don’t? Anything that scurries from being confident, is perceived as lower value. Investors only want people with high value, because hopefully that will increase the value of their bottom line 😉 Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t mess up, you are only human. Again, be yourself.

So when you get on that stage to pitch, talk as if you’re talking to your friend. You explain what you’re feeling, not what you’re trying to sell. You don’t need to over hype your business plan or idea, because people who pitch and put on a selling act, are transparent. You can feel that they’re NOT usually like that. When you talk with low value tonality, trying to please others, your value decreases. So keep that in mind, very important. Explain yourself, who you are, as if you’re meeting a new person for the first time. Don’t deviate too much from your normal tonality, and if you feel passionate about something you’re going to say, make it real. Don’t be overly passionate about it. The less you demonstrate that you want people to listen to you, the more they will. Talk slowly, think clearly, vary your tonality just a little from your every day talking, be confident, think everyone could be better off if they listen to you, and that you don’t need anything from anyone to validate who you are or your business. Hopefully that will change how you pitch!

Here n here and here are great “pitches.” Their tonality is natural and they’re not putting on a show, they don’t need you to like them.They know what they’re talking about has value, they don’t need to prove it has value. That’s what makes their pitch successful.

Till next time!
Stephen M. Levinson
@InkkyGames