Guest post by Miriam Rivera, CEO of KFA and Co-Founder of Ulu Ventures:
Start-up pitches are everywhere; everyone has something to pitch especially in Silicon Valley. But how do you make sure your pitch to investors stands out against the noise? Turns out, there is some science to the pitch. It involves the art of storytelling and human emotion.
Creating a Message that Evokes Emotion
A workshop, The Science of Stories was conducted at Stanford University, spearheaded by literary scholars, cognitive scientists, and neuroscientists. One researcher from Princeton, Uri Hasson, used brain imaging to demonstrate that stories presented through video (a Clint Eastwood movie) resulted in brain scans among viewers that correlate in remarkably similar ways. What’s interesting is that when a person tells a vivid story and another person hears that same story, even in a recording, the brain activity of the storyteller and the listener match up to a remarkable degree. The more similar the brain activity, the more the listener claims to understand the story.
A Compelling Pitch
I’m fascinated by these findings because it is a physical demonstration of empathy or a human emotional connection. Furthermore, this is evidence that ideas are transferred from one person and received by another in some fundamentally coherent manner. How does this help you ensure your start-up pitch isn’t a box office flop? Create both a vivid personal and company story, without this you will surely be quickly overlooked. In my career as an investor, I’ve heard hundreds if not more than a thousand pitches. The ones that resonate with me, are the ones that tell a colorful story and facilitate some kind of personal connection.
Channel Maya Angelou’s words when you’re getting ready to make your pitch:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
The upcoming KFA course, The Startup Pitch, taught by Stanford GSB coach and author Chris Lipp, offers some of these compelling storytelling tips. Sign up for Start-up pitch today!