UCL School of Management

18 January 2016

Top tips for pitching your ideas

Life after graduation, whether starting in a new job, launching a new business or going onto further education, will often involve pitching yourself or your ideas to others. Chris Coleridge, Programme Director of MSc Technology Entrepreneurship, shares his tips to get the best result from a pitch.

Start with a bang

Standing out and grabbing your audience’s attention can go a long way, especially if yours is one of many ideas they have heard in one day. You might bring a sample of your product for them to try, start with an anecdote or even send something interesting in the post for them to look through beforehand. Passion is the perfect partner for a new idea, so show that you have had some real results from the effort you have already put in and are determined to succeed with their help.

Be human

Don’t be afraid to show your personality. Authenticity is vital to leadership, so be open about your passions and interests, and be yourself. A leader who is confident and comfortable will build the same ethos into their team members, investors and customers – a powerful route to success. Take the same approach to nerves, in acknowledging them and handling them in a way that works for you.

Start with the customer problem and pain, not your idea for a solution or tool

If there is no problem, there is no opportunity! It’s easy to get carried away while talking through your idea, but there must be a reason for creating it in the first place. Real stories of real people and how they experience the everyday problem you will solve - as opposed to a “typical user” - make a far more compelling message.

Make sure the listener can understand what their role might be in helping bring the idea to reality

So you’ve outlined your idea and the problem it will solve. What next? You need to be clear and concise about what you need from your audience to move forward. Whether it’s approval to progress with it, an investment, expertise, introductions, mentoring or something else, involve them and talk them through the next steps you would like to take together.

Don’t try to explain everything at once

It’s not desirable to go over every detail in an initial pitch. Tell your audience what they need to know, capture their interest and then leave them wanting more. Follow up with more substance in the next session or in subtle stages, like emails and phone calls, to move your relationship forward.

Find out more about the MSc in Technology Entrepreneurship.

This article also appeared on GradJobs

Last updated Friday, 22 January 2016