Sunday, July 12, 2020

3 Lessons from the Big Pitch

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I remember the day I received the call to pitch Pink Petro to investors at the University of Texas Energy Week with several venture capitalists and industry companies. 

You have to know that my first reaction was “who me and why little old me?”

At the time Pink Petro was three napkins of scribble over five glasses of wine that had sat in my work bag untouched.  It existed in my head and my heart and it was just going to be a transitional project.

Hmm, it’s quite the project, I must say! Thanks for joining and being a part of it.

I agreed to give this a shot.  Why not?  I am not looking for venture capital but every experience is an opportunity to connect to people, develop relationships and endless possibilities.

Pitching is not the glamour you see on television. (Oh, wait, what really is real on tv?)  It’s hard work and it’s not a one-shot deal.

When I reflect back on the day, I offer 3 lessons when pitching (anything), really.

Pace, pace, pace.  Never, ever tell them everything. 

You have to show passion and authenticity, but never be too eager.  Curiosity is one of those great conversation starters. When you pitch anything in life whether its widgets or if you are selling yourself, you have to leave some room for mystery.  It’s a balance between giving them enough to want more versus smothering them with your eager-beaver routine.  Dance a little.  Yesterday I walked away with validation that I’m on the right track, than thinking I’m on the wrong one.

Present later in the day.

I’m a morning person so forcing myself to be second to last is hard.  In this case it was chosen for me.  What a gift!  I got to see the other pitches and was able to build on others presentations and learn from their approaches.  Watching others do it make the process a lot less intimidating and it gave me a sense of the cultural norms.

Have fun and learn.

So, just before my pitch I needed to excuse myself.  I was so nervous I walked into the men’s bathroom to apply a little lipstick.  The poor gent who ran into me was mortified and started to apologize. I smiled calmly and told him I’m used to being the “only female” and walked out.  It got me thinking … when you live in a mans world I guess it doesn’t matter where you stop to freshen up. I fit in just fine.

Learning is the best part of this experience.  Winning is not about the award. It’s about what comes next…

Have you ever had to pitch something?  Tell me about it. I bet you learned a lot about yourself!

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Katie Mehnert
Katie Mehnert is the CEO and Founder of Pink Petro and Experience Energy. She's an author, speaker, and sought out expert on energy culture and talent.

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