K.I.S.S. – Keep it short and simple (your pitch that is)

A 60-second pitch – some think it would be a simple task to master, but as the 16 participants in TechAlliance’s recent pitch contest soon learned, a lot can happen in one minute.

While you may not have a timer ticking away behind you, as our competitors did, it’s important to keep in mind that you risk losing your audience the more complex or lengthy your pitch gets. No matter if your audience is an investor, a customer or if you’re trying to recruit a new employee – K.I.S.S., or risk getting the kiss-off.

In the first three weeks in June, sixteen representatives from London, Ontario-based companies signed up for TechAlliance’s annual pitch-off, a trio of events that included a workshop, the actual competition and a celebration where the winners were announced. In this three-part series, you’ll meet the top finalists of the 60-Second Pitch Contest and read about their tips and suggestions for crafting a perfect pitch (see their pitches here).

First up is Tina Gokstorp from CTAR Corp., who took top spot in the competition.

Q: What made you decide to sign-up for the 60-Second Pitch Contest?

A: It was a really great opportunity for us to think and learn about how we can present our business in a clear and effective way. The contest was a resource for technique, suggestions and ideas, as well as feedback and practice.

Q: What was the most challenging part about competing?

A: Remembering to stay calm, engaging and natural… and to breathe!

Q: Any tips for someone struggling with developing their pitch?

A: I would recommend people look outside of their organization for feedback and input make the process collaborative. You have to make sure that what you’re saying is something others, who may not be familiar with your business, want to hear.

Q: What sticks out in your mind as the most valuable lesson you learned from the competition?

A: Definitely identifying our pain and solution statements properly, essentially figuring out where the gap in the market is that our company fills. It’s easy to overlook simplicity, or take it for granted, when explaining what you offer or do. By having clear statements that show the pain in the market and how we solve it, it makes pitching a lot easier.

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Check in next week for my chat with second finalist Alexandra Reid from MITACS Inc. For more information about TechAlliance’s 60-Second Pitch Contest and to watch the video of the winning pitches, click here.