6 Steps to an awesome 60 seconds pitch

Let’s get started!

Alright! We’re excited to have you and your project at Actyvate.

We want you to get your project off the ground, so over the new few weeks, we’re going to be giving you tips to increase your success at raising funds for your project.

And if you’ve done any form of fundraising, you’ll know one of the areas you cannot escape from, is pitching your idea. It can be a pitch to investors, supporters or even corporate sponsors, and how well you pitch will determine your level of success.

Plus, because of the short attention span of everybody else (yourself too if you think about it), you won’t be poised for success if you need a long time to pitch. Most of the time, you may not even have the luxury of it!

Which is why for this email/post, we’re going to help you craft an effective 60 seconds pitch.

Why 60 seconds? Well, imagine you walk into the 88th floor of the Petronas Twin Tower, and in walks a prominent investor. He/she asked you how’s your day, and what you are working on. You have before the elevator reaches the lobby to pitch your idea, and that’s roughly going to be 60 seconds.

Ok, all set? Let’s go.


#1. Use a question to frame the problem you are trying to solve

Instead of just saying “the problem I’m trying to fix is [problem]”, sometimes a more engaging way to start is by using a question.

So for example, say your project is on education in the rural areas, the start of the pitch by using a question will be:

“You know how some kids in rural areas have to walk for 2 hours just to get to school? Pass dense jungles and across dangerous rivers? Well, that’s the problem I’m fixing right now.”

A question is a great way to include your audience, to draw them in, and also to get them to open their minds. Best part, instead of spending 30 seconds on the problem, you’ve just done it under 8.


#2. Set the context of the problem early

Start with a big picture, so that your audience will be on the same page as you. They must be able to get what you’re talking about within the first 10 seconds, before they lose their attention asking themselves “What’s this person talking about again?”

At this stage, you may want to target specific audience segments as well, because let’s face it: you can’t please anyone. Use phrases like “If you are a [job title/background]…”


#3. Start off strong with statistics that prompts a “really?”

People hardly question statistics, and it appeals to our curious nature. Try to look for a one-liner statistic that can stimulate a “Wow, I didn’t know that” or“OMG! I didn’t know the issue was so serious!”


#4. Establish your credibility

Rather than telling them who you are – forget words like motivated, dedicated and passionate because it means nothing, really – inform the audiencewhat you have done. This is where you and your team’s track records will come in handy to answer the audience’s question at this point “who are these people, and why should I listen to them?”

Here’s a simple example to illustrate:

A: I am passionate about educating children on the importance of financial literacy.

B: Over the past three years, my team and I have conducted hundreds of financial literacy workshops for over 10,000 kids.

A, well, just tells them about your passion. B, on the other hand, really show them that you meant business and that you have the track record too.


#5. Don’t get into too much of the details

Many pitches fail because it gets too deep into the nitty-gritty. It’s just a one minute pitch, and the key is to get them interested to find out more. Think of a trailer for a movie that got you eagerly anticipating the opening date, and you get the picture.


#6. The Ask

You can’t finish a pitch or presentation with telling the audience what you want from them. Be clear, and don’t ask for too many things. If there are a few things you would like them to do, prioritize them by asking:

  • Is this one thing I need to ask, or can I do without?
  • What’s the sequence here? Can I go with this first, and then follow-up with that?
  • Is this the right audience to be asking this?

There you have it. 60 seconds is a short time, but if you plan it right, it’s long enough to get someone to say YES, and that how lives are changed.

Spend some time mapping out your pitch and rehearsing it. The next time we talk, we’re going to put that into a video!

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