I’ve sat on a lot of judging panels, and so I thought it would be useful to give you some insights into what matters to the judges.
Every competition is different, but there are a few things that judges always look for.
Focus on the customer
Most importantly, you need to focus on the customer or end user, and the problem you are solving for them.
You need to explain why they need your idea.
What product or service do your potential customers use now, and why would they use yours? What makes your idea better?
What makes you qualified to deliver it? Your skills, your passion, your inspiration?
– Never say you don’t have any competition, there’s always a different option for customers.
Keep it simple
Your technology may be really great, but don’t spend too much time talking about it.
Keep it simple, explain it in a way that your non-techy friends and family understand it, use analogies that are familiar to them, if you can.
Know your numbers!
How much money do you need? What is it for? What will your sales be in year 1, year 2, year 3? When will you make a profit?
What size is the market, more importantly, how fast is it growing?
– be realistic about your share of the market, build the numbers up from what you can make, not down from the size of the market.
Some general tips
Don’t rely on technology as it might fail.
Be prepared to talk without slides, as you might have to. It may be a good idea to have some notes written on cards so you can refer to them if you need them.
Will the judges be able to ask you questions at the end? If so, you can save some of the details for the Q&A.
You can learn a lot from the questions the judges ask you – you may not agree with them but respond thoughtfully. Be honest if you don’t know the answer. You can explain your assumptions, but judges can always tell if you are making things up!
It’s OK to be nervous, but it’s not OK to be underprepared, so practice, practice, practice.
Don’t worry if you hesitate or forget something.
You are human and the judges are too. Just stay calm and move on.