Today is an exciting day for me! It’s the semi-finals of the Philips Innovation Awards (PHIA). The PHIA award is the biggest Dutch student entrepreneurship award there is. So, it’s a pretty big deal! 5 months ago, I handed in my business plan and in February I got the great news that I made it to the semi-finals. Due to corona the semi-finals changed from a live event to a remote pitch event. A completely different format. I have pitched live in the Beatrix Theatre in Utrecht in front of hundreds of people, I’ve pitched while running or even naked in a sauna in Sweden during SLUSH, but pitching from behind my laptop is completely new for me. So, that’s scary and exciting at the same time!
I was kind of nervous about my presentation yesterday evening. But luckily, I always sleep well. So, today I woke up rested and ready for the day to come! I made myself the breakfast of champions: heated soy milk with oatmeal is my usual go-to . After finishing my breakfast, I open up my Bullet Journal to-do-list. Yesterday, I finished my MIT subsidy application. So, I can cross that off my list and focus on my pitch today. My 1-minute pitch for PHIA is scheduled at 2 p.m. And even though the pitch is only one minute long, it will cost me a full day to prepare. I have not written down anything I want to say yet, so let’s get to work!
I always start preparing my important pitches by creating an outline of what I want to say. This process, for me, usually starts the week before the actual event. By doing it this way, the complete script will form in my head. The only thing I need to do now is write it down. And by writing it out and, later, slowly reading it out loud I determine the length of my pitch. Of course, it always starts out too long. So, with a couple of small adjustments I now have a 58 seconds pitch ready.
Ok. Now it´s time for some stage design! I´m in luck: my girlfriend is off today because of the corona crisis and helps me out with my ‘set’. I decided to do the pitch at her place, because her roommate is moving out and the room is completely empty. The perfect location to do my pitch standing up! And I have plenty of room to set up my banner next to me, so I can show the product during my pitch.
Rehearsing your pitch in front of your laptop is definitely something I recommend. By recording your pitch and watching it back you gain a lot of insight on how you pitch. I see myself delivering a good pitch, but I need to be more passionate and express myself more. In front of a camera – and therefore without a visible crowd – this takes me a little more energy than in front of a live audience.
It’s almost 2 p.m. now. I take a quick shower and put on a nice outfit. Nothing too fancy though, because wearing a suit is not really my style. And in my opinion a suit is a bit overdressed for a student startup contest. Last but not least, I put an internet cable in my laptop to ensure optimal connection and I finally join the waiting room of the PHIA zoom meeting.
Phew! My 1-minute pitch went really well! I got some tough questions from the jury, but I heard them before so I knew how to answer them. After 10 minutes, I leave the zoom meeting and hope for the best. The sun is shining, so it’s time for me to go outside for a nice bike ride to release my tension.