Top Ten Tips: Your Business Pitch

by Catherine Moonan, Communication Matters

Catherine Moonan Communications MattersPitching a product, service or idea can be a daunting experience for a start-up or SME, so I have provided you with ten general tips here that should help you when preparing for a pitch.

I have based these tips on my experience coaching over 500 contestants on RTE’s ‘Dragons’ Den’ series to date, along with delivering pitch workshops to many of Ireland’s leading start-up and accelerator programmes.

  1. The starting point of any pitch is your audience. Research your audience. Who are they? Why should they care? What’s in it for them? Find an emotional connection between you and your audience. Your pitch will change depending on the audience. An investor pitch, for example, will be different to a customer or client pitch.
  2. Structure your pitch in a story format. Start with a wow opening that will capture the attention of those listening. Have a limit of between three and five main points. An investor pitch, for example, often follows the logical flow of Problem, Solution, Market, Team and Financials. Close with a summary, thank the audience and provide an action/focus for the future. Where possible, overlap the closing paragraph with the opening paragraph.
  3. Ensure there is a logical link between your points. Take the audience by the hand, step by step through your pitch. They should be hanging on to every single word.
  4. Keep your pitch as concise, clear and simple as possible.  Remember, less is more. A pitch is like the trailer of a movie. Leave the audience wanting more instead of overloading them with too much information. Avoid any technical jargon. 
  5. Engage and entertain your audience with relevant examples and anecdotes that they will remember. It’s not all about facts, figures and statistics. Think from the heart as well as the head.
  6. Your voice is like a musical instrument. It plays a huge part in how your message is received. You need to vary the pitch and pace of your voice. Use pause and emphasis.
  7. Ensure a confident posture. You need to appear confident in order to instil confidence in your audience – shoulders back, fix your feet to the floor. Keep your hands by your side and gesture as you would normally. Use eye contact with a pleasant facial expression.
  8. Nerves are normal – just manage them. Breathe mindfully, use visualisation and/or positive affirmations. Shift the focus from yourself to getting the message across to your audience.
  9. Practice your pitch as often as possible. Preparation and practice is the price paid for superiority.
  10. Be interested and passionate about the content of your pitch. It will have a ripple effect on your audience. If you are not excited about your pitch, how can you expect your audience to be?

Catherine’s Key Take-Away Message:

Be yourself. Be the best of yourself. Have no fear. Allow yourself to shine.

More about Catherine:
Catherine Moonan, a member of the mentoring panel with the Local Enterprise Offices, is the author of ‘The Pitch Coach’, published by Liberties Press.

She set up Communication Matters in 2002 to provide training and coaching in Communication and Presentation Skills. Since then, Catherine has trained individuals and corporate groups within a wide range of business sectors. She is the Pitch Coach on RTÉ’s ‘Dragons’ Den’, having successfully coached over 500
contestants on all the series to date and helped them to secure over €4 million investment.

Catherine coaches entrepreneurs and graduates on many of Ireland’s established start-up programmes and she was the Pitch Coach for the Finalists of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition, which was co-ordinated by the Local Enterprise Offices.

Catherine’s website is