Speaking at HK startup conference Jumpstarter, entrepreneur and TEDx speaker Lori Granito shared her practical advice on how to give a confident presentation that makes the maximum impact. Here are her key takeaways.

For entrepreneurs, mastering your presentation skills can mark the difference between an idea and an actual business. Whether you’re selling a product or a concept to potential partners, investors or clients, a strong pitch is often the pivot from which things happen – or don’t. As a TEDx speaker and coach and the founder of Hong Kong’s first culinary incubator Kitchen Sync and the award-winning private kitchen Magnolia, Lori Granito speaks regularly at conferences on entrepreneurship. According to her, the key to a successful pitch lies not in your big ideas, but in how you structure your speech to hook your audience and get your message across as clearly as possible. Read on to discover her tips from this year’s Jumpstarter conference.

Lori Granito on How to Nail Your Next Pitch at the Jumpstarter conference.

“People only remember the beginning and end of a presentation,” begins Lori, going on to explain that it’s the first 9 seconds of a pitch that determines its success. So essentially, you’ve got less than 10 seconds to make an impression. Her advice on how to do that best? Tell a story. “Stories help us take abstract ideas into real-life situations. When you’ve got a good story that addresses how you solve the problem, it’s easier to connect with people,” she explains.

In a good pitch, you empathise with your audience. “When you pitch for something, you are selling a problem, not the product,” says Lori. “You have to accept the hard truth that, however great your products are, no matter how much time you’ve invested in them – nobody cares. People only care about themselves. What concerns your audience most is what’s in it for them? And, why now?”

Lori Granito on How to Nail Your Next Pitch at the Jumpstarter conference.

To do that, you need to dissect the issue at hand. “You want to give them a clear idea of the problem that you’re solving, the quantitative impact and the upside opportunity, and also make sure you establish the urgency for your target customer base,” Lori elaborates. Only after that, can you then present the plans and costs associated with your approach, before ending your speech with the same story you started with, reframed in a new world where your solution solves the problem.

Language-wise, Lori reminded pitchers to always craft their speeches with simplicity in mind. “Stay away from acronyms, confusing jargon and trendy buzzwords.” To get your point across, reduce information to its most concise form. “Brainstorm your idea in three sentences: state the problem in one, explain your solution in the next, and end with identifying the specific target market,” Lori encourages. And then, go further. “Next, condense that down to one sentence. When you become really good at this, you can get your idea down to three words.”

Even given all the above, no pitch is ever perfect and no record 100% successful. Still, that shouldn’t cause confidence to drop. “Trust me, 42 ‘no’s were not easy to take,” says Lori, of her early days pitching her restaurant ideas to potential investors. Ultimately, the secret to success boils down to one thing, and that’s your mentality. “Always remember that the ‘no’ just means next opportunity, maybe a different idea, or another investment. And, if ever your spirit is broken, keep in mind that there’s always going to be somebody who can see your hard work.” Adopt her techniques and maybe you’ll find your way to them sooner.


For more coverage of Hong Kong’s Jumpstarter conference click here.