Startup Lab recommends: how to make a good video presentation

Maret Ahonen and student teams pitching their ideas. Source: Startup Lab

For the first time, the top 10 teams to compete in the Kaleidoskoop finals were selected based on video pitches. The teams were given a free hand in producing and editing their three-minute video, and as a result, a remarkable number of interesting and engaging videos were submitted. Since As the presentation of an idea in the form of a video pitch is a necessary skill in both studies and at work, Maret Ahonen, the Leader of Starter programme and Startup Lab at the University of Tartu, gives some useful tips for a convincing video pitch.

Students were very smart and creative in producing their videos and each video could be seen as a work of art. Kaleidoskoop received videos with rapid scene changes and inspiring individuals talking about their product value and market potential. There were also videos with a white background where presenter looked directly into camera and delivered a carefully structured text, with just few visuals.

What all the presentations had in common was the passion for introducing the solution, and the commitment to producing the video – none of the videos was hasty or superficial; each was like a work of art. Of course, it was a competition and all teams wanted their product to attract attention and progress to the finals. Video pitching does not allow giving additional explanations and therefore, you need a convincing presentation and excellent video implementation, as well as a clear storyboard to pitch the product or service.

The following six tips can be useful for creating a great pitch video.

  1. Create interest.
    Three minutes is long enough to give a simple explanation of your product or service, how it works and how you are going to make money with it. The overall aim is to create interest and make the audience want to know more about the product or ask when it is launched.
  2. Tell a story that has a beginning, body and end.
    You may start with a story why the problem you are solving is important to you, talk about your solution, market and money. Do not forget to sum up the main facts and future plans in the development.
  3. Show your prototype.
    Definitely show your product prototype and present strong arguments about its value and novelty.
  4. Keep your arguments balanced.
    In a persuasive pitch, the emotional and rational arguments are balanced. For example, emotional arguments about the problem help listeners to identify with the pain the product will alleviate, but without facts and numbers, they do not build credibility. Moreover, if you appeal to emotion, you will not have enough time to talk about the product, its potential customers or the business model. On the other hand, if a pitch is filled with data and technical specifications, it is boring for listeners and does not give a full picture of your idea.
  5. Memorise the text; do not read from the paper.
    A good presenter does not read out the text but speaks naturally, as if introducing the idea to a person who knows nothing of the product or your team.
  6. Ensure simple and correct technical implementation.
    The technical implementation and graphics of the video should support the message, and not confuse the viewers. Remember that it is not a product commercial but a presentation targeted to the judges or potential investors. The use of appropriate light, minimalistic background and clean graphics is recommended when presenting your prototype.

Excellence requires time. Invest time and patience in the production of your pitch video – you might not get the desired result with the first try. But the latter, perhaps,  is common knowledge to all people with a start-up mindset.

The Kaleidoskoop winning teams Sorter and SoulCare share two useful tips.

Record, analyse, improve.
When you view the video you will immediately see its good aspects and what needs improvement. By changing the text, adding pauses, altering the volume of your voice or video composition, you will eventually obtain a satisfying result. Ask feedback from your teammates and mentors.

Do not rush.
Emotions are high and you may want to talk a lot but that is not the goal. The goal is to deliver the most essential information and do it by heart. Smaller proportion of text allows you to make your presentation more interesting and understandable for the audience. Long sentences, even if you speak slowly, can confuse listeners. The key is to use short and sense-making sentences.

Be open to new ideas and problems that need solutions. Join the Starter programme in autumn to turn ideas into reality. For more information, see startuplab.ut.ee.

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