How To Ace Your Pitch Competition

Pic taken by  Tauhid Chappell

Pic taken by Tauhid Chappell

How To Ace Your Pitch Competition 

Hold up, hold up...first lemme just say check out this clip (below) featuring my co-founders and I in a documentary called 'High End'.

Ok, now back to our regurlary scheduled program. 

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of emceeing the 3rd annual CannaTank pitch competition at the National Cannabis Festival in Washington DC. The festival was great, the entire week leading up to the event was amazing tbh. was featured on along with in their 'High End' documentary on the luxury weed market and I got to end the week in my hometown for work AND pleasure as I got to hang out with my family and enjoy some Maryland crabs! 🦀

As I take a moment to reflect on this current space I'm in I am reminded that my co-founders and I were in Colorado this time last year gearing up for our first demo day. This was where we pitched EstroHaze on the main stage in front of investors and the general public. It showed what we'd been up to for the 4 months we were in Canopy Boulder, a seed-stage accelerator for cannabis companies.

I must admit I was glad to not be pitching at the CannaTank competition - instead I was able to be a spectator as the emcee and check out some new businesses and ideas coming into the cannabis industry. Nadir Pearson, founder of SMART took home the $1000 grand prize along with mentorship from some of the judges including Dr. Chanda Macais. I have to admit, out of all the contestants Nadir delivered the most flawless pitch of them all. Some of the others pitches could use some work. Aside from nervousness, which is to be expected whenever someone is speaking live there were other things that are big no-no's when it comes to pitching. My advice for acing a pitch competition is below.

How To ace a pitch competition:

1. Clear Your Head By Working Out - A great way to calm your nerves and get out any anxiety and tension is good ole fashioned exercise. Before you hit the stage on the big day take 15-30mins and engage in a cardio workout. 

2. Be Off Book! - When pitching your business, especially for a cash prize its important to be off - book. You should not be reading from note cards, mobile devices, pen and it. 

3. Don't Go Over The Allotted Time - Pitch competitions are timed, therefore your pitch should end on time. You should be practicing your pitch with a timer both solo and in front of an audience.  Also, get someone you trust to ask you relevant investor questions and time your responses. Make your pitch and any answers to follow up questions relevant to the audience you are addressing and succinct. 

4. Work The Stage - If you are off book and know what the heck you're talking about you should be engaging the audience. Depending on the crowd and size of the stage be sure to work it. Take up space and show the world what you've got. This is your shot to make an impact so own the room. Choose key points throughout your pitch where you'll move to the other side of the stage or perhaps make a bold body gesture. 

5. Don't Forget to Breathe - Before you even think about uttering one word center yourself. It will make for a much better presentation. Get connected to the space you are in, take a deep breath and knock your pitch out the park! 

6. Practice, Practice, PRACTICE - You can't even imagine the amount of times I rehearsed our pitch. I rehearsed alone, in front of others, in the shower, on walks, etc. It makes all the difference when you can confidently hit the stage and know you know WTF you are talking about. Remember the pitch isn't just about winning money for your business, but it's also about building more relationships and getting valuable feedback. 

Sidenote: One of the highlights from the pitch competition was seeing the judges light up on the stage. They passed a joint around and took notes on the contestants and when it came to the Q&A time for each contestant they didn't miss a beat. The lazy, unmotivated stoner was NOWHERE in site on that day! I am honored to be amongst so many amazing, dynamic and hardworking cannabis professionals! 

If you missed the National Cannabis Festival in DC this year, don't make that mistake next year. I had an amazing time and met some great people.