You have a social enterprise, or an idea for one. To get the support you need, it’s essential that you are able to articulate the impact you make or want to make. Invariably, this will mean pitching your business to an audience; and, for this to be successful, you’ll need to do this with confidence.
The purpose of pitching is to engage listeners in a story that sparks conversations they want to continue – not to tell them everything you know about your business.
Annette Kramer, one of the guest speakers on our Impact Investment Readiness programme, has put together a list of practical points for social entrepreneurs that want to get their pitch right.  
1. Say your name slowly and deliberately.
Leave a pause between your first and last name. It’s important that listeners understand you, or they will assume they won’t understand anything you say. You want their attention from the beginning.
2. Make it easy for listeners to follow you as you talk.
Use transitions each time you change topics, or for when you go from describing an abstract concept to giving an illustrative example. The importance of transitions can’t be emphasised enough. Tell them what you are going to tell them, or at least change topics in a logical order.
3. Structure
Ensure your pitch has a clear structure. To help define this, put the content of your presentation into sections: beginning, middle and end. Use coloured notecards to mark each section. This will help you to understand how you’re telling your story and why – and ensures that when you tell it, you won’t sound like a robot!
For each card:
• Put your topic sentence at the top – just like writing an essay in school.
• Bullet out supporting points, with one or two words each. Do not script.
• The card should have at the bottom one of two statements:
i) The significance of what you just said, if applicable and not entirely obvious OR
ii) A transition to the next section of the pitch.
4. Be concise 
Keep your statements brief and avoid stringing points together. The danger with long sentences is losing emphasis. Bullets, rather than scripting, will help with this.
 5. Balance business sense with inspiration
To persuade your listeners that you really know what you’re doing, you will need to demonstrate your passion. Explain what drove you to work on your idea and what continues to drive you.
6. Practice makes 95% perfect
95% of what goes into a successful pitch is practice. The other 5% is inspiration. If, when woken up in the middle of the night you can rattle off the topic sentences of each of your pitch sections, you’re almost there. So keep going!   
Take note, practice often, and speak with confidence.
Annette Kramer is a successful performance coach and business development professional with more than 20 years of experience in the UK, USA, Europe, and Asia. She also has an expertise in helping high-growth companies win investment in arenas such as the BBC’s Dragon’s Den. Annette’s pitch session forms part of our free Impact Investment Readiness programme, which provides support to social enterprises looking to scale. Find out more here.
 
Richard Brownsdon
Programme Development
Impact Hub Westminster Team