Look mom I’m on YouTube!

In the last email/post, we talked about your 60 seconds pitch. Hope you’ve done it because some of it (if not all), may be used to script out your pitch video today.

So what’s the same? The flow – problem, solution, traction, team, the ask

And what’s different? You will not get a response from a camera!

Yup, unlike a live audience (panel of judges, 1-on-1 etc) where you can get them laughing at your jokes or nodding in agreement, a camera is not going to be able to do that.

Ok, that’s the first tip. Now’s let’s get a few more to prep you for a KICKASS pitch video.


#1. Aim for 60 seconds too

Attention span is really a commodity these days, so let’s just stick to 60 seconds as well. The max recommended is 90 seconds, but only if you have worthwhile content to add (solution demos, survey data etc). Frankly, one minute is more than enough to cover the bases, and also to spark interest. As a matter of fact, like what we mentioned in the previous email/post (Point #5), giving too many details may just spoil the fun!


#2. Map out the flow, not write the script

One thing that most people get wrong is, they try to write out the whole “script” they are going to be reading. Now, this is bad for a few reasons.

  1. You will tend to memorize, and your viewers can see that. Your eyes will not be looking at the camera as you are “recalling” your script from memory, breaking eye contact in the process.
  2. You will also be very stressed as you’re trying to recite word for word.

What we would recommend, is for you to draft out the flow, and write down only key points you need to cover. A mind map is useful too. That way, you will be able to know what comes next, and as long as you have your key points covered, you won’t be too overly conscious of the words you used or the sentence structure.


#3. Get a friend

Yup, clicking the record button and running in front of the camera (back-and-forth mind you) is going to be hard. It’s way, way better to have a friend or co-founder in the room with you. He or she will be able to give you feedback as well. And don’t worry too much about embarrassing yourself, because it’s only with one person. Imagine doing it in front of a crowd of hundreds, which would you prefer?


#4. Picking the right spot

The environment is important for two main reasons – lighting and sound. Unless you have powerful flashlights, I would recommend doing it where there is natural daylight. Nobody likes to watch a dark video where they can’t spot your facial expressions.

Outdoors are great settings for your video shoot, but be mindful of the ambiance noises, especially sounds like sirens and car honks. Those are very hard to be edited out, even by a pro. Also, while outdoor boasts natural daylight, sometimes it could be too bright and you will end up squinting as well.

If you got some budget, record it at a studio, where you won’t have to consider all these factors.


#5. Project your voice

See where the camera is? Project your voice at least one meter behind it. Just like a darkly lit video, nobody likes a video that they have to strain their ears just to listen to the contents. Projection is not shouting; it’s merely throwing your voice farther than the camera.

Projecting your voice can show confidence and charisma, and sometimes can help reduce mumblings too, making your pitch all the clearer and more engaging.


#6. Gestures will help you look more alive

Don’t stand like a log! 🙂 Use your hands to gesture, with the height anywhere between your chest and your head – too low or too high, it will shift the viewers’ attention too far from your face. Use your fingers when “counting” points. Open your palms to show honesty (open palms tell that you have nothing to hide). “Show” your big your market sizes are with your arms.

Remember that your head can move too! So tilt it slightly from side to side, making it appear more natural.

Oh yes, please remember to smile!


#7. Buffers

Lastly, leave a few seconds of buffer time before you start your pitch, and after you’ve stopped. Stay in the same position, freeze your movements and facial expressions. These “buffers” are useful when editing, clipping, and cropping. You wouldn’t want your video to end abruptly, would you?


So there you have it, seven quick tips to get you ready for your pitch video. Remember, while it may not be as impactful as you pitching face-to-face, having a pitch video means you get to leverage on the expandability and scalability of the format to reach a larger audience.

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