This is it.
After sweating over many hours and lines of code, it’s time to put everything together and pitch your hackathon project to the jury’s scrutiny.
There’s more to a hackathon pitch than merely delving into the code and technicalities of your solution — a pitch is also about your interpretation of the problem, your creativity in addressing the problem and how you pitch your solution.
In this article, we will explore the five elements of a successful hackathon pitch and look at the techniques you can use to create an effective narrative that captures the jury’s attention. Also, we’ve got you covered with a few templates to give you a head start!
1. Structure your presentation
The time to present your pitch is limited, so make every second count. Structuring your pitch beforehand will help you organize your ideas in a coherent manner, ensuring you don’t leave out any important information.
If possible, practice the pitch a few times before delivering it — this will not only help you remember the crucial points but also increase your comfort level when it’s time to deliver your pitch. Save enough time to explain the core technical side of the project, your decision-making process and a demo of your solution.
Considering most hackathon pitches last 3 minutes, here’s a rule of thumb for maximizing your impact within that tight timeframe:
- Introduction (10 seconds): introduce yourself and your team in a way that’s memorable. People recall more easily how things start and finish, so make sure they remember you and your team when they are deliberating.
- Problem statement (20 seconds): what problem are you trying to solve? Whose lives can be improved? What impact can your solution bring? Don’t forget to convey impact to what you are saying.
- Product (1 minute): explain the technical aspects of your project. Focus on providing enough information to showcase your technical competence and decision-making process without getting lost on the details or overwhelming your audience.
- Demo (1 minute): support your product presentation with a live demo (if applicable) or visualization tools to mock-up the design, functionality, and the main key features of your solution.
- Wrap-up (30 seconds): summarize your key points and end with a strong closing statement.
2. Craft a compelling story
Human beings are wired to remember stories far more effectively than they remember isolated facts or data points. To create a compelling narrative you need to intertwin the technical information of your problem with a coherent storyline. This will enable you to deliver a pitch with a more lasting impact, than if you relied on dumping information.
Before you start, think of a few ideas for how your story should progress. The idea is to create a mental roadmap for the audience and yourself so that it’s easy to both understand and recall. Once you have an outline ready, practice your pitch in pieces before delivering the entire presentation. Assigning a team member who is comfortable with public speaking will increase the odds of delivering an impactful and engaging pitch.
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3- Create visual support materials
Support your presentation with a slide deck. You can include images, diagrams, or brief snippets of text. The goal is to provide enough visual reinforcement and clarity without dragging down the pace of your pitch. With visuals, you can also prompt the audience’s imagination by illustrating possible uses for your product or service.
Here are some AI tools that can assist you in creating images, illustrations, slides, infographics, and videos:
1- Canva: An easy-to-use design tool that offers a wide range of templates for infographics, presentations, and other visual content.
2- Venngage: A tool specialized in infographics, offering a variety of templates and built-in data visualization tools.
3- Crello: A graphic design tool that combines the power of AI with an intuitive interface, perfect for creating eye-catching visuals.
4- Luminar AI: An AI-powered photo editing tool that can help you create stunning images.
5- Piktochart: A tool that allows you to create infographics, presentations, and printables with a simple drag-and-drop interface.
6- Promethean AI: A tool used to generate high-quality art and animations for games and other media.
7- Biteable: An online video maker that allows you to create stunning videos in minutes.
8- Renderforest: A cloud-based video maker for creating intro videos, explainer animations, and promotional footage.
Remember, AI tools are meant to augment your creativity, not replace it. Use these tools to enhance your visual presentation, but make sure your unique vision and message shine through.
On the subject of Artificial Intelligence, you can also check out our list of AI project ideas for your next hackathon!
4. Don’t call out development problems
Judges often ask about the challenges you faced during the hackathon. If they have enough knowledge and experience, they might even intuitively inquire about them. But there’s no need to include it in your pitch. Let them ask the questions and focus on highlighting the strengths of your project instead of drawing attention to the weaker points.
Showcase what makes your solution unique and emphasize your product’s features by giving examples of how it could be used in different scenarios.
5. Pitch presentation: Good to know’s
Take a deep breath — it’s totally normal to feel nervous, especially when presenting to the juries and having an audience. Just remember to breathe, own the room, and show them who’s boss. You’ve got this! 😎
Take it slow — I’ve seen my fair share of hackathon pitches, and at times, it feels like listening to an Eminem vs Busta Rhymes rap battle. Teams get so anxious about fitting everything into the time limit that they start spitting out words faster than the speed of sound, leaving poor jurors a bit perplexed. It’s like a verbal rollercoaster that hardly anyone can endure.
Don’t be caught in the slide-reading trap — We’ve all been there, feeling the anxiety creeping in and resorting to a robotic recitation of every word on the slides. It’s a common reaction to the fear of public speaking, but fear not! Remember step 1, take a deep breath, and hit that restart button. Trust me, nobody wants a snooze-fest presentation that puts your audience to sleep. Keep it engaging, keep it lively, and watch their attention skyrocket.
Be prepared for the Q&A session — After the pitch, the jury is bound to be curious. So, make sure you and your teammates are well-versed in every nook and cranny of the project and ready to answer with a confident smile.
Don’t overlook the importance of a good pitch deck — A well-crafted and aesthetically pleasing presentation deck can significantly boost the impact of your project. Of course, you are being judged on your development skills but the form should not be overlooked. A visually appealing presentation is more likely to captivate and hold the attention of your audience, making it easier to sway the judges with your amazing project.
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Hackathon Pitch Templates
We want you to nail your next hackathon pitch, so we just curated a few templates to help you create a killer pitch. They are fully editable: all you have to do is copy the file to your personal area or account, and off you go! Edit the text, add images, files and customize it to create the most memorable hackathon pitch deck ever. Here’s a list of 5 templates you can choose from:
Template 1 — Dark Theme
Template 2 — White & Violet Theme
Template 3 — Blue & Pink Theme
Template 4 — Neon Theme
Template 5 — Dark & Green Theme
The key to a successful pitch is telling your story and highlighting the features of your project in a way that communicates what makes it unique. It’s also important to keep the audience engaged with visual support materials, practice the presentation ahead of time and be prepared for questions from the jury.
Remember, bugs won’t lose you a hackathon, but a weak presentation might. So, bring your A-game and deliver your best pitch every single time you compete in a hackathon!
LayerX connects web3 developers and organizations through hackathons and bounties, bringing together talent and opportunities to create innovative solutions.