The Dangers of Memorization
Many entrepreneurs attempt to memorize their investor pitch as part of their pitch preparation. They write down a detailed script and repeat it until they can say it word for word without reading. The problem with this approach is:
- Firstly, you will not sound natural or engaging, but rather like a robot reading a script. If you don’t sound engaging your audience will not connect with you and your chances of succeeding will be dramatically reduced.
- Secondly, the above approach depends on you not being interrupted. Investors have a habit of interrupting entrepreneurs during their pitch, either to challenge a statement that has been made or seek clarification.
If this happens, then you will be knocked off balance and find it near impossible to effectively pick up where you left off.
Internalize Every Time
When you internalize your pitch, you’ll sound natural, engaging and compelling. You’ll be able to easily handle interruptions and tough questions and then pick up where you left off without skipping a beat. You will also feel more confident and send out a message to your audience that you’re a real pro.
There is no one size fits all approach to internalizing your pitch. People learn and retain information in different ways. This is the approach I share with my clients and successfully used during my 14 years as an attorney and many years pitching investors and Fortune 500 execs:
1. Sketch the outline. List in order the key topics you intend to cover with some keywords for each one. You will be able to internalize your pitch faster if you hand write your outline and light script, rather than type them out because of the connection between the brain and hands. I recognize that this can present editing challenges and leave it to you to weigh up the pros and cons.
2. Add the detail. This should ideally be a light script rather than full and should still be created in sections or chunks. Some people prefer to start with a full script and then move to light and then none but this takes longer and is not necessarily more effective.
3. Practice your delivery out loud. Initially allow yourself to glance at your notes. Do not make the mistake of simply hearing yourself delivering your pitch in your mind as so many do at the last minute. There is a world of a difference between how you think you’ll sound and how you actually sound when you do it.
The same rule that applies to most things in life applies to pitching. The more you do it the better you get. Practice, practice and practice again, ideally at different times of the day and in different locations. This will build up your pitching adaptability, versatility and resilience.
4. Record, Playback, Appraise and Rehearse. Always record and listen to your rehearsals. That is the only way you gain real insight into your performance and will be able to revise and improve it.
5. Make Your Pitch Your Most Listened to Track. Once you have recorded a pitch rehearsal you’re happy with, listen to it day and night. This is where you really begin to internalize your pitch and will know it inside out and back to front in the same way as you know the lyrics of your favorite music tracks.
For more practical advice on high performance pitching read ‘Here’s the Pitch – How to Pitch Your Business to Anyone, Get Funded and Win Clients’ by Martin Soorjoo. Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Audible and all leading booksellers
Photo Credit: CC by Zach Aysan