In the first part, I said how crucial it is to think about your audience first: who they are, what they need to know, how you will be able to speak to their heart. Now let’s talk about how to start your pitch with a solid hook.

Make them want to listen

A hook is an invitation to listen. Actually you’re going to need several hooks along your pitch to keep your audience interested. What you don’t want is just keep throwing information at them. It will get boring.

You need a structure of course, to guide them along your demonstration, but you also need bits of surprises to actually want them to know more.

The hook must be:

  • surprising / unheard / shocking
  • about the audience: something they will truly care about 
  • in a tone of voice that’s consistent with your personality and the kind of product you're pitching (funny, solemn, political, radical, sweet…)

The subtext of the hook sounds like "I bet you didn’t know that…", "You’ll probably be excited/ thrilled/ shocked/ discouraged to learn that…" 

Unsettle their world

Here is the hook I suggested to Maxime, the founder of JustDare, an app that lets you challenge your friends:

"Arrive on stage in a ridiculous disguise so that people:

1) get to smile right away (which is the point of your app),
2) feel empathy for you (they'll identify with your fear and will want you to succeed overcoming it),
3) are eager to know more about the reasons behind the disguise,
and 4) understand in just a second what the app is for".

Maxime chose to wear a PacMan costume and managed to win the public support by just acting like, yeah, a friend made him a bad joke and said he wouldn’t dare to pitch in front of 400 people wearing a ridiculous costume :)

Next week, I'll tell you how to tell the right story.