Have you ever been around people who has the ability to capture the attention of everyone around them? They speak and everyone listens, laughs, asks for more. It’s enviable. Luckily, it’s also a teachable skill.

As far back as humans go, it is commonly agreed by historians that we have been a storytelling species. Whether it is through painting, sculpture, song, fiction, non-fiction, or Facebook rant, stories are how we learn, adapt, and evolve.

This is no different in the realm of starting a business, applying for a job or furthering our personal and professional development. Our success in motivating others to join, support or invest in us often comes down to how well we are able to convey a compelling message.

In light of February being the month of our first Pitch Arena, we’ve rounded up some resources and key conversations that will come in handy if you’re new to pitching, or want to brush up on your storytelling and interviewing skills.

  1. In conversation with Ben Shaw on learning how to talk about HouseMe

HouseMe has been making waves lately. Not only was it featured on Enterprise Africa as one of SA’s most innovative proptech companies, but it was also awarded the status of one of 10 South African “soonicorns” – a unicorn in the making. The startup has grown from strength to strength in record time, graduating from funding rounds as if asking for investment was the easiest thing in the world.

For Fellow and CEO Benjamin Shaw, HouseMe’s success lies a lot in the company’s approach to telling its story, Counterintuitively, this storytelling starts with listening: first to his customers, then to the market, and lastly to himself practicing his pitch over and over and over again.

Listen to Dinika’s chat with Ben to learn more about HouseMe’s early days on the pitching stage, what lessons he bring from pitching into managing a team, and what books he read to get his head in the game.


  1. Learn how to present properly with leadership and public speaking coach, Simon Sinek


In this video series, Simon Sinek – who taught the world to “start with why” – breaks down the elements of effective presentations, explaining not only how to do them, but why they matter in all types of interpersonal interactions.


  1. The top 10 slides your pitch needs

In this article, serial entrepreneur and author of the famous Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Guy Kawasaki elaborates on the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.

“It’s quite simple: a pitch should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. This rule is applicable for any presentation to reach agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc.

  • 10 slides – Ten is the optimal number of slides in a PowerPoint presentation because a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting—and venture capitalists are very normal. (The only difference between you and venture capitalist is that he is getting paid to gamble with someone else’s money). If you must use more than ten slides to explain your business, you probably don’t have a business.
  • 20 minutes You should give your ten slides in twenty minutes. Sure, you have an hour time slot, but you’re using a Windows laptop, so it will take forty minutes to make it work with the projector. Even if setup goes perfectly, people will arrive late and have to leave early. In a perfect world, you give your pitch in twenty minutes, and you have forty minutes left for discussion.
  • 30-point font – The majority of the presentations that I see have text in a ten point font. As much text as possible is jammed into the slide, and then the presenter reads it. However, as soon as the audience figures out that you’re reading the text, it reads ahead of you because it can read faster than you can speak. The result is that you and the audience are out of sync.”


Read more here

No Comments

Post A Comment