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The Core Message

How to Ace Your Virtual Pitch: Tips From 2020 TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Champ, Canix CEO Stacey Hronowski

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

1. COMPLETELY Memorize Your Pitch

This one actually goes against what most presentation coaches would tell you, but it makes sense in the unique universe of virtual pitch contests.

  1. She had amazing eye contact: She was able to maintain eye contact with the virtual audience the entire time. And speaking as one of the audience members, I definitely appreciated this.
  2. She overcame tech glitches: In the first round, there was a tech glitch and she could not see her own slides for a major chunk of her pitch! This would likely have thrown most speakers, but she had her story and slides down cold, so was able to click on and speak on.

2. Record — and Watch — Yourself

If you’re like me, you probably hate watching videos of yourself. But that’s exactly how Hronowski identified a major element that worked for her — her intensity:

3. Practice Q&A Gauntlets

Hronowski also pointed out that executing a memorized pitch was actually the easier part. Responding to judges’ questions and thinking on your feet— that was a much tougher challenge.

Other Interesting Bits

Pen-in-Mouth Exercise

Hronowski was especially thankful towards TechCrunch coaches, who had an interesting exercise for her — speaking while having a pen in her mouth (not kidding). Apparently the point was to enunciate, because presenting virtually can flatten a lot of the words that we say, so we actually have to over-enunciate.

Go With Your Strongest Points

I noted that Canix’s pitch didn’t even have a team slide, and Hronowski explained why:

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Andrew Yang

Former presidential speechwriter. Now helping CEOs and founders tell better stories. Co-founder of Presentality