Irina Voblaia outlines crucial steps to follow

Guide: perfect your pitch

The idea of this article appeared to me when I attended a workshop organized by a marketing and investment group at the Dutch Game Association’s day.

Among the targeted attendees were some big game studios in the Netherlands and small start-ups undertaking the first steps and experiencing very first failures and successes.

A moderator introduced himself as an investor and mentioned that he is looking for a project to invest in, and it may well be a game or studio’s initiative. He said he was open to various opportunities.

This is when silence descended upon the room.

The moderator then proceeded with a suggestion: to introduce each other, keeping in mind that everyone is talking to a potential business partner.

Reluctantly and carefully the attendees began to mumble. One said “I am a managing director of a game development studio”, while another said “I am writing about games”.

The moderator asked the room which one of these two, based on their introductions, would he be more likely to call.

His answer was quite unexpected: he would not call anyone. He is seeking for something outstanding, something that he would like to know more about, something innovative, something to… invest in.

Let us explore how to make someone call you when you need an investor.

Not to get lost in endless pitches and ideas, let us concentrate on a very first contact with a potential business partner, when you pitch yourself, basically. The underlying objective of any pitch is to evoke the interest. Think about what’s in it for investors that will make them want to keep on listening to you, because you may well be pitching at a conference or networking event, so remember there’ll be a crowd of people searching for ideas and even bigger crowd searching for opportunities.

A personal pitch, a presentation, should contain emotion, should offer interest and trigger attention. Remember; investors are looking for a competitive advantage.

Usually the first sentence of a pitch is supposed to be either an attention grabbing statement or a positive statement introducing the appealing information about yourself, your project, your ideas or your services.

Keep in mind the psychological factor, any person is able to keep in mind only two key pieces of the information that can be deducted from your message. Furthermore, there is an attention span – an amount of time that a person can concentrate on a task without becoming distracted. Make sure you convey the two main thoughts or ideas and grab the attention span of your opponent.

If you manage to get past this big hurdle – which basically is what you are aiming at – remember you may not be able to close a deal on the same day. This is just a very first contact. You will need to prepare a proper closing of your pitch, which will follow with another contact. Close your pitch with a definite next step.

How would you make it? Pretty easy: throw the ball to your opponent, ask a question.
Ask direct: Do you want to discuss it further? Do not give the person any “escape” as it has already been mentioned above, ask direct and mean what you say.

Do not forget the ideas outlined in this article! Throw the ball to your partner and agree on the next steps. Engage, participate, inspire and win!

With that in mind, I would like you to submit your pitches to me at

The submission deadline is February 28. The person with the most outstanding pitch will win the Pitch & Match meeting with a company of interest at the Festival of Games 2010.

Have a look at Pitch & Match 2010 attendees list. Send your ideas to me and the best wins a chance to make their pitch!

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