Emily Peat is a University of Waterloo engineering undergraduate student who recently won one of four $20,000 prizes at the OCE Social Enterprise Student Competition. Now a budding social entrepreneur, Peat is putting her winnings towards expanding her small local, organic produce home delivery and mobile market business, EcoPlace Organics.
April 05, 2013 by Guest Blogger
By Emily Peat
This spring, post-secondary students across the province will share their innovative ideas in three-minute videos as they compete for prizes of up to $2,500 in OCE’s Discovery Student Video Competition
. At the same time, Ontario's high school students have the chance to try their hand at video pitching with the Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch competition
. As a young entrepreneur competing for funding wherever I can find it, I know how difficult it can be to communicate a great idea so that others buy in. Mastering the “art of the pitch” is integral to every entrepreneur’s success and although it’s intimidating at first, luckily, with practice it becomes easier. Now that I’ve gotten some experience, I’m happy to share some tips on what I’ve learned for students creating their video pitches.
- Cover the essentials.
Time is precious during a pitch — especially in a three-minute video — so you have to ask yourself, “What is most essential for the viewers or judges to know?” Use this as a basis to craft your key messages, which will give the structure for your pitch. To help clarify the most important points to include, I try to think, if someone were just to watch my video, could they describe the business or project to a friend? Video pitches have the inherent challenge that there is no Q&A period to address concerns your audience has, so being able to anticipate any unanswered questions is key. Because it’s hard to remain objective about a project you’re immersed in, have friends and family watch your video to give you input on anything you might have missed.
- Tell a good story.
People listen to stories in a way they don’t listen to other information that comes at them. Structure your pitch as a story, so that it flows, engages the listener and is memorable. Establishing a connection with your audience is crucial during any pitch, so make sure your story is relatable and meaningful to them. Citing examples is a great way to make your idea relatable. Throughout your pitch, use simple, clear language — but make it interesting! Also, weave in key messages and repeat important points to make your story easy to remember.
- Talk about benefits, not features.
'Features' are great, but they are really only useful if they provide a benefit to someone. Think from a customer point of view and ask, “What's in it for me?” Whether it’s time savings, cost savings, convenience, or peace of mind, your audience needs to know specifics on how they will benefit from your product or service.
- Show off your passion
To get people excited about your idea, you need to show them how excited you are about it. Passion is a necessary ingredient in an entrepreneur. Passion is what will push you to overcome obstacles, to achieve what seems impossible, to work the 18-hour day you need to. A sound business plan is obviously a roadmap to success, but you’ll have a hard time getting there without passion and integrity. Show off your passion in your video because ultimately people are investing as much in you as they are in your idea.
- Take advantage of the video medium
Video is inherently dynamic – it doesn’t have to be a straight head and shoulders shot of you speaking. Take advantage of the creativity, tricks and effects video offers to tell your story. Make your pitch visual and differentiate yourself from other entries.
Beyond these basic points, remember to be yourself and have fun – and to get your entry in on time! Good luck!
The Discovery Student Video Competition is open to all post-secondary students enrolled at an Ontario university or college during the 2012/2013 academic year. Entries are due April 26, 2013. For more details, visit the competition page.
The Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch competition is open to all full-time students at Ontario high schools who are returning to school in Fall 2013. Entries are due May 3, 2013. For more details, visit the competition website.
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