Last night I was lucky enough to speak to a group of women who are either recent founders, work for a new startup or are nearly founders (or wantrapreneurs if they don’t get their ventures off the ground).

The topic I chose to speak on was Perfecting your Pitch, something we have been working on recently and a topic dear to my heart after judging a rising stars competition and listening to some fantastic and not-so-fantastic founders pitching why their company should be considered “the” rising star of our local startup community.

The unfortunately reality for us as women in business is we need to pay more attention to our pitch delivery than our male counterparts, what we wear, how we look, what we sound like is judged by men and other women alike. Cruel and harsh? yes, is this changing? yes, but still the playing field we operate in right now.

As women we are judged for so many things in life – our career choices, our childcare choices, our image, our emotions, our trusting natures – the list goes on. So when it comes to business, pitching to investors or potential advisors we need to consider our audience and their perspectives as we prepare ourselves so that when we walk into the room we aren’t noticed as a woman but as a successful business person full stop.

Another factor we as women need to overcome when we present or promote ourselves is we are humble and we understate our value – I found myself shrugging off the thanks I got last night for instance – we all do it and it seems someone has even coined a term for this behaviour many women, and some men, exhibit “Impostor Syndrome”.  “8 Practical Steps to Getting Over your Impostor Syndrome” is a slightly confronting article which presents a compelling definition:

Impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to see their own accomplishments, dismissing them as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.

The 8 steps to me seem extreme – but is that my impostor syndrome making me think this? When pitching your business or idea being humble simply doesn’t belong so prepare yourself to be positive and to be making assertive statements on your position or future position. There is nothing worse than coming across as though you don’t “own” your message or underselling as a bi-product of being humble.

It’s hard but quite doable, in my mind all comes down to the preparation, know your numbers, know your business plan, practise your delivery and consider the audience as you prepare how you will enter, look and sound. The sky is the limit for women as entrepreneurs and pitching is just one small mountain we need to overcome. Happy sharing Vic.

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The photo is just because it’s spring and I went to the Sydney Garden show, no other reason. New to my blog? you can read about Victoria here.