One high-stakes presentation that entrepreneurs have to give is in front of potential investors. While it can be intimidating to present in front of people who can fund your business, service or idea, following these 6 tips will improve your presentation and make it more likely that the investors will understand your proposal and address it on its merits, rather than being distracted by your poor presentation skills:
1. Think about it from the investors’ point of view
This presentation is not the time to tell the investors everything you know about your product/service. Instead focus on what is important to them and follow my Golden Rule of Communications – “communicate unto others as they want to be communicated to.” Remember that you are asking them to invest money and time, so they will be heavily focused on value and the return on their investment.
2. Be prepared but not overly memorized
While it may seem like a good idea to memorize your pitch, the problem is that when you are presenting, you will be in your head worrying about forgetting what you’ve memorized rather than in the moment having a discussion with the investors. You can memorize the key parts of your presentation – your introduction and your conclusion – but instead of memorizing every word in the entire presentation, practice by delivering your presentation out loud until you are comfortable enough with the material that you can say it several different ways and still have the same meaning.
3. Anticipate questions
You can prepare for more than 90% of the questions you will be asked. For example, you know that potential investors want to know about things like your sales, production costs, cash flow and patents pending. So have that information ready. For the other 10% of the questions that you can’t anticipate, rely on your background, knowledge and preparation to answer in the moment. And if you don’t have an answer, don’t bluff. Just admit that you don’t know and that you will have to get back to them with the answer.
4. Remain calm when answering questions
When the investors start peppering you with questions, it may feel like you are in front of a firing range.
Questions show that the audience is interested, which is especially true in this case when they are deciding whether to invest money in your proposal. So, don’t take the questions personally or get hostile when responding.
5. Be assertive and respectful
As an entrepreneur asking for investment, you have to demonstrate that you are passionate about your product/service, knowledgeable about your market and committed to working hard. You have to be assertive when explaining the value of your idea or company and why it’s a good investment. However, you have to balance being assertive with being respectful of your audience. Avoid personal attacks, sarcasm or disparaging remarks about those who have chosen not to invest. Remember, while you may have a large personal stake in your idea or product, to your investors this is business, not personal.
Though it may feel like you are going into the dragon’s den or the shark’s tank, it is important to smile. Smiling demonstrates your confidence and helps to relax you and in turn, relax your audience. A genuine smile (rather than a fake smile) will also help convey your excitement and passion for your product or service.
The next time you are pitching your product or service in front of potential investors, follow these 6 tips to ensure that the investors understand your product or service, appreciate your passion and knowledge and don’t get distracted by your poor presentation skills or lack of confidence.
Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps people improve their presentation and communication skills so they can be more successful. She has worked with executives and entrepreneurs throughout North America and in Europe, Brazil, China, India and Thailand. Sign up to receive more public speaking and networking strategies from Gilda’s e-newsletter:http://www.gildabonanno.com/