How to Write a Perfect Pitch Script (Comprehensive Guide) – Summary
- Why Write a Pitch Script
- How do I get started writing?
- Don’t read the script
- Do tell your story
- When do I write my Pitch Script?
- What do I write in my Pitch Script?
- Practicing your pitch as you write
- Reducing long form text to bullet points
- Reducing Bullet Points to keywords and metrics
- Pitching with Your Script
Why Write a Pitch Script
You already have your pitch deck and you know your company. So why do we insist on actually writing out a pitch script? Well, a pitch script helps strengthen your pitch by giving you the ability to streamline, focus, and practice effectively.
Making Adjustments and Improving
Making adjustments when you already have a script is not as challenging as working on the fly with every pitch. In general your pitch deck serves as a basic outline of the script, but actually writing the details out of what you want to cover and what you want to convey will ensure that you don’t forget important details and that you pitch in a way you can improve upon.
Only One Shot – Make it Count
You usually only get one shot at making it right when you are in front of investors and we’ve found those that get their script together first, have a better shot of making the pitch they intended to make in the pressure situation. Proactively writing your pitch script will reduce the potential for forgetting what to say, leaving critical pieces of information out, or generally just not sounding like you know your business as deeply as you should.
How do I get started writing?
Use your completed pitch deck to get started with this process. The pitch deck is the guide to your pitch script as you would generally be pitching while simultaneously presenting the pitch deck.
Keep in mind, as with most types of presentations and pitches, it’s important to treat the script you write as a guide, because we don’t want you to verbatim memorize or recite things. For one you are going to sound robotic if you do this. You are also going to get flustered if you forget your place as opposed to being able to roll with the natural flow of the pitch.
Don’t read the script
This is very important so it’s worth repeating… we don’t want you to read the script. In fact, reading anything is reading, not pitching. We don’t even want you to practice with an exact script. It’s important the pitch retain a conversational, excited tone. Don’t practice every single exact word. Also, don’t bring your notes or read off of anything when you are actually pitching – remember reading is not pitching.
Do tell your story
Instead you want to make sure you’re telling a story (your story) and you’re talking to your audience. Keep the tone conversational even if it’s just you doing all the talking. If you miss one word when you practice something to a “T” or memorize it, you’ll have a really hard time getting back on track. With a focus on story telling and using your Pitch Deck as your guide, if you miss one word you’ll be able to recover easily and move on. This is really important because pitching to a large audience or even just one investor is extremely nerve racking. Mistakes are bound to happen in that type of environment.
When do I write my Pitch Script?
If you’re building your deck at the same time you’re building your script then you’re going to want to build them together. You could also start this process anytime if you already have a completed deck, but the chances for it to change as you develop the flow of the script are higher.
What do I write in my Pitch Script?
Using the slides as a guide will help you match what you are saying to the presentation deck or pitch deck that’s going to be a visual aid behind you as you present. With your pitch deck in hand you are going to have a general flow, and a story-line. When you use the outline of your pitch deck to write your script, the next steps are already laid out.
When you’re writing a script, first to make an attempt at writing out exactly what you’re going to say. Every word. This is a long form writing exercise. Write it out using complete sentences. And complete the writing for every slide.
You want to think about what you want to say, what’s going to engage the audience in the beginning of a presentation. We want to tell a story. As such, we want to grab their attention. We want to use tangible examples as much as we can.
As the presentation goes on we could start to layer in more information, more content, more numbers, and things to backup what we’ve said in the beginning of the presentation. But we want to think about that flow of the story and how we’re going to keep someone engaged the entire time through a presentation.
Practicing your pitch as you write
Written text is a little more formal and a less easy to follow when we’re listening to somebody. Because the way we write it’s a different than the way we talk, its important thing to focus on talking in actual sentences. Attempt to practice your pitch in the way you converse versus the way we write.
Practicing your pitch as you write will help you merge what looks good on paper with what sounds good to your audience. Remember to practice like you will play: Conversational tone, standing vs sitting, and even what you are wearing.
Read your long-form script, put it down face down. Record video of yourself speaking through what you just read. Make improvements to your script and practice again. Repeat this general process until you feel like you’ve exhausted the improvement potential.
Step-by-Step Summary of pitch script writing steps:
- Start with the General Outline from your Pitch Deck to get the overall structure
- Write down your long form script.
- Put it face down.
- Record video of yourself presenting
- Practice what you wrote in a conversational versus rehearsed manner.
- Listen to your video and hear yourself go through it.
- Fine tune the script, make changes, figure out where you want to make it better.
- Rinse and repeat until you feel like it’s the best it can be
Reducing Long Form text to bullet points
Next we’ll write it again with slimmed down content. This time the pitch script will have more bullet points and sections. Reducing length of the long form text will allow you to know cues versus having to sift through complete sentences. Cues are easier to keep conversational than long-form text. Long form text allows you to know everything that you would say when you are cued.
Usually, at this point, you’ll start to see the pitch deck working for you to help cue you and guide you through making all the points you attempting to make. The goal is to associate all these bulleted lists to the slides they go with.
If you’re doing your script at the same time as you’re creating your pitch deck slides, you can think about the bullet points and sections of slides. You can also think about the overall flow and amount of information you are conveying so you can make these two things more audience-friendly and engaging.
Never Use Bullet Points on Your Pitch Deck
Side note here so there is no confusion: Never actually have bullet points on your pitch deck slides, just bullet points in your pitch script. Put that one face down and we’re going to present again in front of a video. We’re going to video ourselves presenting and going to record that. We’re going to listen to it. And we’re going to fine tune our speech from there.
Reducing bullet points to keywords and metrics
The last step is to take those same notes that we had before with the bullet points and we’re going to shorten them up even more into just really, really short bullet points. Just the keywords, maybe just the key metrics that we keep forgetting, whatever it is.
That’s the level of cues or script that we’re okay with you reading and preparing with, that’s it. Not the full list of bullet points, and not the long form text, the one where you wrote it out in full sentences. You should never practice with long-form or bulleted lists that are not reduced. You want to be cued not told what to say.
Practicing with keywords and metrics only
I want you to practice with short bullet points, just the main points in the order that you want to hit them in. So you can read and practice that as much as you can. We cannot stress this enough – Practice, practice, practice. When you think you’ve had enough double your effort and you should be on your way to practicing the minimum amount. Practice cannot be ignored and you’ll usually only get one shot. Make it count by practicing and improving as much as you can.
It’s okay to be different
Every time you go through your pitch, it will be a little bit different. Even though it comes out a little bit different each time, with the right cues, you’re going to still say the same thing. And that’s the most important thing – to say what you meant to say every time. If it’s a little different, that’s actually good. You’ll be able to improvise and adjust to circumstances that are beyond your control with this approach.
It’s also going to be conversational, it’s going to flow, and it’s going to feel comfortable. And most importantly your pitch will convey the information you want to convey. It’s going to hit the points you need to hit because that’s what you’re been practicing, the main points that you need to hit. How you get between the points is less important.
Pitching with Your Script
That’s how you write and develop your pitch script.
If you’re going to be using a comfort monitor or a cue card, or something where you’re able to see the notes section of your PowerPoint while you are presenting, you can add back in the shortened bullets. Only use these aides If you’re able to see them while you’re actually presenting without turning your back on your audience. Never look at your slides as you go. When utilizing notes or cue cards, make sure you use those key word oriented bullet points; not long form, and definitely not the full sentences.
Copy and paste the key bullet points into the particular slides they go with. This way the comfort monitor can have all the cues you need and maybe the key pieces of information you have trouble remembering. Keeping you facing your audience at all times is the key. Don’t ever look back at your slides or anything like that. The ideal outcome if you are using a comfort monitor or cue cards is that no one really knows you’re using them when you are pitching.
Keep in mind there’s a lot of places that don’t allow a comfort monitor or that have moved to LCD monitors as the way they present instead of a large screen, so you can’t do the split screen as easily in those settings. Make sure you practice it enough that you don’t need the cues, because you may not always have them available even when you think you might.
Hopefully that answers your question on how to write a pitch script. If you have any thoughts or comments on how you write pitch scripts, maybe you agree or disagree what I’ve shared today I would love to hear about it in the comments below. And if you have any ideas for upcoming pitch hacks we have a link below as well. And I would love to see your questions so that I can answer them in an upcoming Pitch Hack video.
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