Creative Business Cup Startup Pitch Premium CoffeeThat moment you find yourself on stage in front of potential investors, jurors, and the media can be heart stopping. It’s scary to put yourself and your story out there but relax and be brave – and lean in on these tips for excellence.

We’ve put together a list of 7 tips that will help you get past that all-consuming fear. It’s important to move past your fear because on the other side of it is your success and we want you to succeed. So read on, brave startup warriors.

  1. Breathe

This seems obvious since as humans it’s how we stay alive, but nerves can truly take one’s breath away – especially in front of a crowd judging you. The best way to make sure you’re breathing is to practice. Yes, practice. Find your rhythm. Stay calm. Just breathe. It will help you tell your story better and it will give you confidence.

  1. Stay planted on the stage

This is harder than it sounds. Staying planted doesn’t mean you stand there like a rock; it means you have control of your body. If you roam on stage that’s fine. Just be sure the roaming has purpose. A good way to understand what it means to be planted is to look at some TED talks.

  1. Be clear and concise

As a rule of thumb, you need to be able to state your vision in three sentences or less.  This is harder than it sounds. It’s a matter of efficiency and communication. You may be very comfortable with your idea, but no one else is. The simpler, the better. Again, practice this. It will serve you well.

  1. Do not let your deck be the boss of you

Your deck is not your pitch. Your deck should be a series of visual cues. The true pitch comes from you. Do not read your deck word-for-word. Tell YOUR story. Do not let the deck do it for you. You are in control of your deck, not the other way around.

  1. Rely on your story, not your technology

It’s easy to get carried away with technology and multimedia, but it can bite you in the butt. Use very simple, static imagery. Why? Couple things. First of all, as we all know, technology fails sometimes. And when it fails, it can throw you completely off your game. Do not hang your hat on it. Second, when you rely on technology, it slows your pitch down. You need to be able to get through your story in a compressed amount of time (sometimes 2 minutes!), when you lean on the technology, it’s a burden on your pitch. Just keep it simple.

  1. Practice. Practice. Practice.

In front of a mirror. In front of your mom. In front of your dog. Wherever. Just practice, people. It can make a huge difference on how your pitch is perceived.

  1. Have fun

This is your moment to shine and this is your moment to share your idea with the world. Might as well enjoy it.

Oh, also do not forget to breathe. This will make everything better. Now go forth and kick some ass.