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12.11.2018 Hackathon, Lifehacks

Tips for Pitching your Hackathon Prototypes

After 48 hours of coding and ideation, the teams at the F10 FinTech Hackathon in Vienna are invited to pitch their prototypes in front of jury members, sponsors and the F10 team. Here are tips on how to convince your audience.

Famous speakers make it seem as if they had spent their whole life on stages. They do not seem to suffer stage fright and always find the right words to connect with the audience. You might not be the next Martin Luther King, but there are some easy tips how to improve your presentation and pitching skills that are necessary to gain support for your team with the prototype developed at the F10 FinTech Hackathon[S1] [SS2] .

Preparation:

Before presenting your team and pitching the prototype in front of the jury, make sure you know your target audience. Do a quick research on the jury members to find out what might catch their attention quickly. Ask yourself what challenges they are facing in their professional life and how your prototype provides a solution for them. The ten best teams with the most-promising prototypes will be selected for pitching their groups and ideas on stage in front of the whole Hackathon community.

Body language:

Most behaviour scientists and rhetoric experts agree that more than half of a speaker’s impact depends upon their body language. This includes gesture, stance and facial expressions. Make positive gestures such as nodding during the pitch, stand straight and balance your weight on both legs equally and smile occasionally. To boost confidence during the presentation, professional speakers open their arms and keep their backs straight.

One of the most essential tips that you should remember is to never ever (!) cross your arms. This gives an impression of boredom, self-defence and insecurity – which is definitely not how entrepreneurs and game-changers with innovative ideas on how to revolutionize the finance sector want to be perceived[S3] ! If your pitch includes interactive elements, the team members on stage should be facing each other and communicate openly and clearly within the group. Show the audience that you are a unit by actively listening to your team members and supporting the evidence they present both verbally and non-verbally.

Speaking:

To connect with your audience and to attract their full attention, it is crucial to speak the listeners’ language. After 48 hours of transforming your business idea into a prototype, you might feel excited about small technical details of your result. Nevertheless, the jury consists of individuals with various backgrounds and is more concerned about the actual value an idea brings to their industry and company than about minor features. Focus on the problem-solving aspect and keep the big picture in mind. To get the message straight, you should use short sentences and precise language. Pause shortly before shifting to another aspect of your message.

Interaction with the audience:

Look your audience in the eyes while speaking. Studies have shown that people tend to pay more attention to speakers when they hold eye contact. This does not mean that you should stare at one person in the audience during the whole pitch. Pick a handful of listeners sitting in different parts of the room and look each of them in the eyes for about three seconds.

If you want to draw attention to a specific element of the prototype developed during the Hackathon, point directly at it and look at it on the screen. Once you have established a positive relationship with your audience, your listeners will follow not only your eyes but also your fingers. If you feel confident enough, you can take steps toward the audience while speaking. This physical proximity tends to increase participation.

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