Getting Members with Events – The Pitch and Pre-Event Logistics
When hosting internal events (events organized by you) or external events (events organized by outside parties) it’s highly advantageous (read: mandatory) to capitalize on the captive audience. The Pitch is your opportunity to do so. The Pitch is a short (less than 5 minutes) presentation where you tell your audience your story and what you stand for.
The presentation should be visual, not just audial. Often this will involve a slide presentation. You can see an example of one of my pitches from my PARISOMA days here. It’s not my best by far, but probably the only recorded one I could find. I was quite nervous since this was my first big pitch in San Francisco (new market jitters) so excuse the “ums” and generally repetitious verbiage on occasion.
The pitch is best looked at like a salad. You can throw all of these things in there and it will be awesome, but if you leave a few things out (due to time constraints or audience fit) you’ll still have a good pitch. Adjust for audience size and personality. For example, a formal slide presentation can feel super weird with a room of 12 people (just hand out fliers and talk to them). Take note of the things I could have improved on in my presentation above and notice the things I left out. It’s important to respect the audience’s time. They are here for the program, not for your pitch, so keep it to under five minutes.
Regardless of format, here’s what you should include in your pitch:
- You. Who are you? Why are you talking to us and what is your background?
- Your space. Your audience is currently asking “What is this place? What happens here on a day-to-day basis?” Use pictures and describe with your voice, not bullets.
- Your community. Your space is more than just an office with furniture. It’s made up of people. People who do things. Talk about a couple of your members. Who are they? What are they working on? How are they integral to your community? “Yes, people work here, but they also crowdfunded the cleanup of that lot across the street and on weekends they go hiking together.”
- The events/content. Clearly, events happen at your space, which is why you’re standing here talking to a bunch of strangers in the first place. What types of content do you host? Who is your content for? What’s coming up soon? Where can people find regular information about your programs?
Other important things to do during your pitch:
- Invite for a formal tour during the day. Sure, they have seen the space in event mode, but it’s a totally different vibe when people are working during the day. Invite the audience to sign up for a tour during working hours with you or one of your other staff members before they leave. A dedicated tour signup table can be useful here.
- Announce the raffle (if you’re doing one). Tell people how to participate and when you’ll to the drawing. This is critical to get more participation, especially if front of house staff haven’t been urging people to participate.
- Logistics. Where are the bathrooms? Where are the drinks/food? What is the etiquette while speakers are presenting? These things are critical. People wandering around trying to find the bathroom is a major visual distraction for speakers. Drinks being poured can be a huge audial distraction. Talking shouldn’t be permitted in the room at all. This ensures a great event experience for your audience and speakers, who may be your future customers or who may refer people.
- Wrap it up and thank your audience for being there. Let them know who to talk to if they have questions. Then welcome your main event to the stage.
That’s the pitch. It’s critical. Do it every time. Especially in new markets, where people don’t quite understand coworking, if you forget to do the pitch you run the risk of being seen as some random startup’s office space instead of the incredibly valuable asset you are to the community and to your audience. Sure, be chill and have fun with it, but do it every time.