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Entrepreneur Pitch Presentations

12-06-2013

Lessons from the Front Lines

Entrepreneurs are headstrong and passionate – they live immersed in their idea and sweating out the details. Yet at the same time, they are often hard pressed to bring others into their world.

Investors want to know what they are investing in, but often entrepreneurs lack the ability to quickly and concisely communicate their big idea.  If investors hear a long, convoluted, jargon-filled description, it doesn’t comfort them. Less comfort means less funding.

That’s why entrepreneurs need to get better – way better – at pitching.  In our work with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, their presentations are often overwhelming and their dialogue is self-focused.  What should they be doing to win over investors?  Here are our six tips for mastering the perfect pitch.

Make your presentation listener-focused. Your pitch is never about you. It’s not even about your company. It’s about what the investors need to know. When you focus on the investor’s needs, you will present with greater confidence and impact, hopefully getting them to buy in to your ideas. If you don’t, they will quickly lose interest and become distracted. Giving a pitch is not your opportunity to share every detail you know. Focus on the specifics that will matter to your audience and they will want to hear more.

Keep your presentation short in length and jargon-free in content. Great pitchers know the value of a “peek under the kimono” – telling just enough of the story to entice the listener. This gives the investors the chance to ask questions, which gives you insight into what they are thinking. And remember, avoid using jargon; this insider terminology may confuse your audience and cause them to tune out.

Use visual and descriptive language. Even the best pitches can seem boring if the audience can’t visualize the concepts you’re sharing. When audience members “see” your ideas through your words, they’re more likely to understand the concept and retain it. Telling a brief story about your idea can draw in your audience and help them visualize your presentation. Keep that story short and interesting.

Present the pitch as a solution to a problem, provided the problem is easy to explain. Try to build your presentation in a way that shows you understand the investor or end user’s pain points. Then explain how what you’re selling benefits them, or solves a problem they understand. Back this up with relevant examples.

Ask if your audience would like more information. Break up your presentation to see how your audience is feeling. Also find out what points are resonating with them. This allows you to focus the remaining slides to your audience’s needs and skip over information that’s uninteresting to them.

By: Jun Medalla

Jun Medalla is a partner with Exec|Comm and since co-founded and leads the company’s west coast office in San Francisco. He came to Exec|Comm with executive experience in the financial industry. Visit his corporate bio for more information.

This article was co-authored by Doug MacKay, Consultant at Exec-Comm. Visit his corporate bio for more information.

Published in Business2Community - See the article

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