- Process: what happens during our sessions
- Attendees: who should be there
- Logistics: how to prepare (in-person or online sessions)
- GoToMeeting: tips & tools for using & troubleshooting (separate document)
What can I expect from an Initial Pitch Coaching (IPC) session?
- Please bring (for an in-person session) or send (for an online session) your pitch deck. I don't need to see it ahead of time (I want to hear your pitch as a new audience would hear it).
- We start with your current ~ 10-minute presentation, which you pitch to me as though I were the audience you are targeting. It's fine if the pitch is a draft or you are rusty in delivering it, I just want to get a feeling for how you pitch and how you like to tell your story.
- After you pitch, I give you feedback on your delivery, style and content. This section takes about 10 minutes.
- Next, we work together to rebuild your pitch based on the 10 Questions and your story. Depending on the level of development of the different aspects of your business and your goals, this section takes between 1 and 2.5 hours. In particular, answering the first 3 Questions of the 10 can take a lot of time as they focus on customer, market, innovation and competitive advantage.
- At the end of the session, time allowing, I pitch the new version back to you so that you can hear the story line and we can all be sure that we've captured the critical information.
- If the session is in person, I capture the pitch sketches on the whiteboard with photographs. If it is online, the session is recorded. In either case, you are given access to these materials via Dropbox or OneDrive.
- You are welcome to record the final pitch; in fact, I recommend it.
What can I expect from Full Pitch Development (FPD)?
- At the conclusion of the Initial Pitch Coaching (IPC) session, we have a new pitch deck and talking points sketched out on a whiteboard (in person session) or on the PowerPoint deck (online session). Unless you are highly capable in PowerPoint and/or graphics and are comfortable with the new story line, translating these notes and sketches into a new deck is likely to be tedious and time-consuming. Regardless, it is unlikely to be a good use of your time.
- Full Pitch Development is a service that turns those sketches and talking points into a professional, branded deck and talking points/ script without your having to put in the time - it's done for you!
- When the new deck and talking points are ready, I send the new file to you. You then schedule a Pitch Polish session with me similar to the original Initial Pitch Coaching session. We start with you pitching the new version and then we tweak the slides and the script so that it helps you to pitch your story in your way, so that it is compelling to the audience of your choice.
Who must attend the coaching session?
- The person who will be pitching must attend. In most cases - certainly for investor pitches - this person should be the CEO of the company.
- Our goal is always to tell your story in your way so that it is compelling to the audience of your choice. There is no way to be certain that it is "in your way" if you do not attend.
May I invite others to attend?
- You are welcome to invite anyone you like to attend (I've even had a reporter attend an initial pitch coaching session, at the request of the sponsor). Other team members, advisors, mentors and others are certainly welcome.
- If the session is online, please see GoToMeeting tips & tools for inviting your guests.
Do I need to have a presentation deck before we meet?
- Listening to you pitch is the fastest way for me to get a feeling for how you like to talk about your innovation and value proposition as well as to identify strengths and weaknesses in the latter. You can just speak to me without a deck or other materials, but it is very helpful to me to have both.
- Important! Please do not worry about having a polished presentation and/or script before we meet. Chances are we will break it down and start from scratch anyway, so spending a lot of time on your pitch before we meet is not a good use of your time.
For in-person sessions, where do we meet?
- If we are both in Boston (or on site in other locations), we would generally meet in person. In Boston, the location is usually a conference room at one of the following CIC locations:
- 50 Milk Street, Boston
- 1 Broadway, Cambridge
- 101 Main Street, Cambridge (members of the Canadian Technology Accelerator only)
- The conference room will have a projector or display and a white board
For online sessions, where do we meet?
- About half the time, coaching is done online due to location or time circumstances. I use GoToMeeting to manage these webinars.
- Advantages to an online session are: the session is recorded for your benefit and edits are made directly on your PowerPoint file
- Please see GoToMeeting tips & tools for recommendations and troubleshooting if you are new to GTM...
- Most important tips!
- Please use a USB headset if available as it will provide the best audio quality
- Ensure that you have a stable Internet connection with decent bandwidth (> 5 Mbps)
- Hardwired connections often deliver better performance (especially with regard to lag)
- Skype or WebEx can be used, but only under protest (JK, but GTM is the best platform in my experience)
Why do you record online sessions?
- Recordings are made for your benefit, especially with regard to team members or advisors who were not in attendance. The recording can also be helpful in reminding you of how the story developed or other items.
- I keep a copy for my records, but they are not made available to anyone else by me. You may share the original recording with anyone you wish or destroy it.