Over the last couple of years I have heard many, many pitches. Some were great, some were good and sadly too many were pretty poor. One of the consistent mistakes I see people make, is to not tell the audience what they are doing in the first few sentences of their pitch.
You have only a few seconds for people to make up their mind about you (personally I go by the six second rule). If you start your pitch by telling me who you are and what all the awesome things you do are — you have lost me. If you begin by talking extensively about the problem you aim to solve — you have lost me. If it takes you two minutes to explain what you’re doing — you have lost me.
With that being said: There is no one formula to pitch. You need to find what works for you, your company and the product or service you are creating.
As a good rule of thumb I would aim to have a clear, concise, single sentence explanation of what you’re doing in the first 20–30 sec and lead with a strong opener (which can be anything from literally this explanation, a short and gripping problem statement or a personal story about why you are doing what you’re doing).
And practice your opening (and ending for that matter) over and over again — ideally in front of an audience which can give you feedback. You have six seconds to win the first impression battle.
What is your opening statement?
P.S. Nancy Duarte’s new book “Illuminate” is a great read on the topic.