How to: Win people over in 60 seconds


Startup Weekend is all about great teams working together on great ideas. Great teams form because the leader is inspiring and the idea is compelling, and your first task on Friday night is to win over a group of skilled and motivated people   —  in 60 seconds. So how do you do that?  Here are my three Top Tips:

1. Be enthusiastic

There is nothing less compelling that a great idea than is pitched in a boring, monotonous way by a person with no enthusiasm. So, when you do your pitch make sure you know what you want to say, say it with a smile, be excited and enthralled that you can work on your idea with a kick ass group of people.

How can you get excited?

Well, if you have an idea that you have been trying to get going for ages, think about this: in 54 hours your idea could be prototyped, your team could be formed, and you could be a million steps ahead of where you are right now. Kick ass!

2. Be specific

Lots of pitches are very general, so it is very hard for listeners to grasp what you are saying and what you need, and how they could fit in.

First of all, if you know what your idea is and how it looks, then describe that. Secondly, make sure you know what you need (roughly). If you need 100 hours of developer time, then say you need 3-4 developers to help out, plus a designer etc. Be specific; what type of developer do you need – iOS, Android, Web, PHP, Rails? You get the picture…

If you don’t know what your idea is and what it looks like, then describe the problem in way that speaks to your audience.

3. Speak FROM your audience

For all the entrepreneurs out there, and all the people pitching an idea on Friday, make sure you understand your audience. The way you pitch it will get some people very excited, and turn others away. Be aware of this.

The audience you will be pitching to on Friday is full of developers, designers and other entrepreneurs.

Both developers and designers are very different to entrepreneurs – bless them! – so I guarantee that you need to understand this. From my experience, the great developers love to work on technology that sounds cool, innovative and interesting. Great designers like the idea of being able to be creatively free and design something that works. Entrepreneurs love the idea of doing something big or something that could potentially make a lot of money.

Win developers over by pitching a cool technology idea.
Win designers over by showing them you enjoy great design, flexibility and creativity.
Win entrepreneurs over by highlighting how awesome and amazing the business will be.

So you have 60 seconds to make all this happen. It’s not difficult, keep it short and sweet.

This is only the first step for Startup Weekend, check in on Tuesday for tips on how to Form Great Teams.

P.S. If you are missing out on Auckland Startup Weekend, 23-25 September, then buy your tickets now!