How Do Entrepreneurs Hone Their Pitches?

Technology innovators must pitch their technology and its business value to potential buyers, partners, and distributors: to make claims that will create interest in the appropriate audiences and offer evidence that those audiences recognize as credible and applicable. Such pitches typically involve a spoken presentation and a slide deck, both of which must persuade stakeholders. The pitch represents a rhetorically complex argument backed by many interconnected genres. The authors examine how innovators in an entrepreneurship development program, structured as a competition, developed pitches in response to feedback. They examine pitch changes in terms of overall structure, individual claims and evidence, and engagement tactics. Their findings suggest that presenters found this task of adjusting their pitches to be difficult, partly because the training program’s current feedback does not separate out these different aspects. They recommend developing a heuristic to better structure arguments.