When you are developing cutting edge technology, you cannot hide behind a screen forever. Pitching your tech in person to a business or panel – whether it be for investment, sales, or feedback at a conference – can be a frightening experience, but at Tech Live! the CoInnovate 2018 community want to encourage ninebrave and intrepid entrepreneurs and academics to present their best technological efforts in just 90 seconds.
If you’re thinking of signing up to pitch your tech to our panel, or you want to reveal the science of your academic research, what should you be avoiding – and how can you learn from previous people’s mistakes?
- It’s never just about the technology.
Well, it is a bit. But remember, your audience wants to delve into far more than the software or hardware in your fingertips: they want to invest in, buy from, or give feedback to you. You are the real driving force behind that technology, so ensure that you give your own background and history, as well as the new technology. What makes your technology solution different from everyone else? Where is your marketplace, and what potential revenue will it deliver? What problems will this solve, and what challenges does it address? These are the basic questions that your pitch should answer.
- Remember your audience.
You can drive into the nitty gritty details as much as you want, but depending on your audience, that may not actually be the best thing. Your device uses a new form of semiconductor technology? Great. A buyer at a tech firm – say, IBM – needs more than that. Commercial viability, manufacturing costs, interested parties already sniffing: it’s a balance between commercial and technological that you need to meet.
- Input from William Sachiti, entrepreneur, founder of the Academy of Robots, and Dragons Den alumnus
“Never make unrealistic, fantastical claims relating to your idea. While bending the truth, in the beginning, may get you excitement and that all important yes, things will always fall apart at due diligence when your claims are tested and substantiation is required. Not only would you have wasted time, but you would also look like an idiot.”
- Slow down.
Nothing kills a pitch more than rushing through it at a thousand miles per hour. If you think you’re talking normally, slow down again by half. It may sound ridiculous to you, but countless Tech Live! pitchers have discovered that clarity is much more valued than speed.
- Theory only takes you so far.
This will depend on your pitching situation, but at Tech Live! we want to see more than just an exciting theory. What have you done to put it into action? What solutions do you see this tech deciphering? Which industries do you think would most benefit? Even if you haven’t been able to action any of this, without evidence that you have at least thought about it, your pitch will fall flat on its face.
Research has shown that the harmonics of our voices physically change when we smile, increasing receptiveness in our audience and encouraging more of a community feel to a presentation. It’s why clarinetists replicate aspects of the smile when they play: it produces a sweeter note. Try the same approach for your pitch.
- Think broader, and invite your audience to do the same.
Perhaps you wanted to develop a solution for AI, and accidentally created a virtual reality software solution. Brilliant! That cross-disciplinary approach is exactly what we want to see at Tech Live! and it reflects the advantages of a collaborative approach between industry (large and small) and academia. There is no reason why you have to bring all of the answers to the table when you pitch, so open the floor to the audience and make them an integral part of your pitch.
- Turn a pitch around.
If things don’t seem to be going your way you can turn your pitch around. Reading body language is vital here, to understand just why the pitch isn’t progressing in the way that you hoped. Have some flexibility in your narrative so you can chop and change your flow, depending on the feedback you receive from your audience.
Now that you are equipped with our expert knowledge, it is time to sign up for your slot at Tech Live! to gain expert feedback from our panel of judges! Check out how to get involved.