January 27, 2015

9 Ways to Make an Award Winning Pitch

Perhaps you’ve just graduated or are planning your big career switch and taking that plunge into the ever competitive landscape of events. Either way, you’re going to need to pull the big guys in to give you a head start.

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There are a few ways around this. There are programmes such as Fest Factor whereby you can pitch your event concept and hope to get an investment. Alternatively, you can attempt to join established organisers and contribute your concepts to their company. However, if you’ve got a great enough idea why not own it? Not so simple, but we’re going to provide you with the right tips to get you there!

Find a Mess. Solve it. Refine it.
Do your research, find a gap in the market and fill it up. How is your event going to make a difference to peoples’ lives and why is it going to stand out in the crowd? Attend relative events and absorb the culture around you. Give your idea a foundation; make it specific and actionable.

Know Who You’re Talking to.
Look into the judges you’ll be presenting to. What organisation do they come from and what are their interests? Research them on LinkedIn, check out their company website, scan their social media pages and look for any press on them. Reach out via social media to ask for advice from them. That way you can better tailor your content to what is relevant to them. Ask them about their views on the industry so you can get a sense of their perspective and what really pains them.

Learn Something They Don’t Know.
But also don’t try and be the smartest person in the room. Make sure to build a team of credible experts. Promoters and organisers are always looking for new and original spaces to cater for an event. Research new venues, go out and explore the nooks and crannies of the city. Present them with unique stats about the sector you’re looking into.

Know Yourself. Show Yourself.
Introduce and Engage – share a few attributes about yourself and why you’re passionate about what you’re selling.

Think about everything, but don’t say it all!
Don’t forget these guys are experts, and are forking money out of their pockets to invest in you, so they will heavily grill you on your knowledge and numbers! But don’t forget that less can be more. Present your knowledge and idea in a short and to the point manner.

Pitch in 3s.
It’s all about structure! Prepare 3 levels of depth to your pitch. Life is short, time is money, and brevity is the soul of wit, so know how to sell your idea in 5 seconds, 30 seconds and 5 minutes. It’s unlikely you’ll keep your audience tuned in for 5 minutes, so make sure you can sell your idea in as little time as possible.

Here are a couple of examples from Scott Berkun on how ideas can be explained in a few seconds:

Discovering DNA:
“I’m researching how human cells reproduce”

Inventing light bulbs:
“It’s a way to make light from electricity.”

When progressing onto the 30 second and 5 minute versions make sure you can explain how you’ll achieve what you describe in the first 5 seconds, followed by something to give them a clearer picture of your idea (a visual/creative touch).

Keep it Visual.
According to 3M Corporation and Zabisco, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.

Test your Pitch.
You can never get enough practice, but just make sure you don’t sound like you’ve memorised what you’ve got to say. Scribble down a few key words that will help you remember the key messages you want to get across. The longer you spend on your idea, the more you can confidently speak about it. Present your practice pitches to two different types of people: no knowledge vs knowledgable. If someone who lacks knowledge of the industry can grasp your concept then you know it should be peanuts to get across to your judges. Have a knowledgeable audience so they can fire away those knee trembling questions.

Prepare for Objections. 
Be prepared as these guys will pick your idea apart and spare no mercy. Research research research! Identify 10 to 20 most common objections and prepare answers to them. A SWOT analysis could be a nice way of keeping things visual and summing up a lot of significant information in one place!

If your nerves are still racked and you’re sweating with fear, don’t fret – ticketscript to the rescue! We’ve created a few Pinterest boards with creative and statistical information to help you backup your concept. Follow this link to see them.

Emma Brincat