I have literally spent sleepless nights thinking what are the prerequisites to be considered whilst pitching to a venture capitalist. Have you ever wondered how is it to be in a meeting where you are pitching in your business plan to a potential investor? Ask me!!!
I am short of adjectives and other assorted words to explain to you how it feels, but I for sure had this most queasy feeling on earth. Placing your baby in someone else’s hands is quite a task. So, let me make an attempt to share with you budding entrepreneurs on what it takes to present a winning pitch to venture capitalists or investors.
Firstly, let’s focus on ways to grab the audience’s attention; it takes a lot to keep your audiences on their feet. (P/S: please keep your PowerPoint presentations aside until you capture your audience’s attention. We don’t want premature death by PowerPoint!) Power Point presentations as a matter of fact are just ancillary tools that help to accentuate your facts and figures. It is general human tendency for us to get inspired by a story or a parable , so the first cue is to tell a story on what motivated you to come up with this plan, causes, effects, your emotional connect to it, your hardships etc.
Once you have become the cynosure of your audience’s eyes, then comes your description of what the problem is, how you would be able to solve it with your products and services, how different it is from others. Basically the USP of your product/ services, this finally helps in establishing a relationship with the potential investors. It is very natural for the audiences to keep asking themselves why they are where they are ; your duty is to take them through the journey and make them realize how. This is equally easy as well as difficult!
Basically there are two types of communications involved in here, verbal and non verbal. The former is what you convey through your information and the latter is the body language that you exhibit and other cues you give, often unknowingly. Remember, both are equally important since there are a bunch of dyed-in-the-wool investors observing you. In fact, there are studies which show that style and manner of presentation can often overtake content. .
The next important thing is to ensure a high level of trust and credibility. Care needs to be taken to see that both your verbal and non verbal communication go hand in hand. You may be the best speaker but if your body language is disappointing so does your impression. Remember- you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression! Non verbal gestures sometimes make for awkward situations. You are implying something but the gestures are speaking a lot more than that, for instance you have your fingers stuck in your ears and you are explaining figures to the audiences. On the contrary good mannerisms can take you places.
Be confident on what you speak, engage your audience, keep smiling. You know you are confident about what you have so show that confidence. These may be very small actions but remember “actions speak louder than words” Maintain eye contact with all in the team and not just with who you think is the Boss. Even VCs have attrition rates and you can never know – the one you looked in the eye could be their next managing partner.
These may seem like the simplest things, but sometimes the smallest of things do matter a lot! I think and believe that this would help budding entrepreneurs as it helped me. Good luck to all those entrepreneurs who make the world a better place with their ideas.
Blog written by a TiE Chennai member.