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The Founder Hotseat is an important part of the Founder Institute program, preparing you to pitch your business to peers, partners, employees, investors and the world. Mastering the Hotseat is a critical skill that will help you for years to come. Here are the top 10 recommendations.
1. Be Yourself
It is important to project your personality on the Hotseat since most new startups are a reflection of the Founder or Founders.
2. Be Confident
Stand tall and project confidence when you speak. If you are confident in your idea, then you should be able to present it confidently. Minimize fidgeting and moving around, which are visual signs of nervousness.
3. Speak Clearly
Speak slowly and clearly when presenting on the Hotseat, and make sure that everyone can clearly hear what you are saying. Make sure that your name and the name of the business is clearly articulated, as well.
4. Don’t Read
Never read from your notes, your smartphone or your computer. If you believe in your idea, then you should be able to remember how to explain it without notes.
5. Don’t Use Superlatives
Never say words like “first,” “fastest,” “best,” “revolutionary” or “huge.” Whenever possible, also avoid using adjectives or buzzwords. Use simple explanations that anyone can understand.
6. Introduce Yourself
At the beginning of the Hotseat, make sure to briefly introduce yourself and your background, especially if your background is related to the business that you are presenting.
7. Describe Your Customer
One of the best ways to provide a concise explanation of a business is to describe the opportunity from the perspective of a customer. Who is the person buying the offering? Why do they need it? How many of them are there in the world?
8. Use Data
Include a few select pieces of data that conclusively demonstrate that you understand the business and the market, including a combination of published market data and original insights collected from surveys and Customer Development.
9. Be Brief
Try to end before the allotted time amount, rather than trying to fit more and more information into a small amount of time. Getting your main points across quickly and concisely makes you appear organized and efficient.
10. End Strong
End every Hotseat with an ask, which can be for an advisor, an introduction, a team member or funding. It is also good to repeat the name of the company and a tagline at the end of the pitch to help with recollection among the audience.
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