What I Learned from Bill Reichert about Pitching

From the chronicles of a female CEO with a Voice that could be heard…

There I was sitting in a meeting room  on a gorgeous Summer morning eating my bagel and sipping my coffee, in eager anticipation of what I would be learning from Bill Reichert on how to do a “Wow” pitch.  Yes, Bill Reichert from Garage Technology Ventures, LLC. Great name, yes?  Garage paints a picture of how Silicon Valley was created in the first place. Bill should know a little something about pitches, he probably hears pitches five days a week as a leading VC. I was thinking that I would agree with most everything that he said. But then that old turntable needle went screeching across the record. What? He was throwing pitch coaches under the bus. I can imagine many of the pitches he sees and hears are painful. Same old boring formula and monotone delivery. And yes, when I was in college studying opera there was a singing teacher and you could always tell her students because they all sang the same way. And yet, I have had amazing teachers and coaches who have taught me many, many skills, so I must stand up for our industry and those of us who don’t make the mistakes that Bill mentioned during his presentation.

Bill gave a simple, logical formula to pitch – touch our heads, hearts and guts. He was funny when he said to keep it simple, because VC’s aren’t all that smart. He spoke of the pace of the pitch which is key. Get to the point, man. Be credible.  Don’t throw all of those market share slides with unprovable data into your pitch. Tell a story. Paint a picture. If you can drop a big name or celebrity who is part of your team, do it and do it early in your pitch. Give us something to grab onto. And perhaps most important – what is the one thing that your company does amazingly well?

In addition to Bill’s great advice, here are 4 of my tips to delivering an Effective, Dynamic Pitch that gets you Funded:

  1. Do your homework. Take this seriously. Do not rely on someone else’s opinion. Find out everything you can about the person you are going to pitch to. I see people pitching to the wrong person and/or the wrong company.
  2. Watch out for amateur mistakes during your pitch. Arrogance. Cutesy. No clarity. We can’t hear you. An inability to clearly describe the technology behind your product.
  3. Quiet your imposter Voice, which is that little inside Voice that says “you don’t belong here”. Decide that you are where you belong and commit 100% to yourself and your startup. Who else will if you don’t or won’t?
  4. Budget for a coach. The right coach. This is not one sizes fits all training. Get trained and supported so that you shine. Super achievers never stop going to school or finding teachers or experts that help them make those big climbs.