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Give Yourself (and Your Pitch) the Greatest Opportunity to Succeed
You have a great product/service that solves a current or upcoming problem. You are the person/team to build a company that provides solutions. However, if you cannot convey this information convincingly, you are unlikely to get help/funding from others. Unfortunately, if that’s the case, you’ll be the business equivalent of a screenwriter with a spellbinding script for a blockbuster movie that never gets made.
So how do you create, develop and distribute your information successfully? There are of course many ways to accomplish this. This is just one way, and it works!
Thinking of your presentation
When it comes to pitching to investors, you need to craft your presentation with two approaches in mind.
One, of course, from a potential customer’s point of view, including:
What is their problem?
How does it affect their lives?
How your solution will help them, change their life or make their life easier.
Another point of view is that of the investor. including:
what is the problem
Your solution to that problem
How your solution differs from others
Financial viability of your solution
Your/your team’s ability to execute the plan.
Convey your ideas
As humans, we learn, understand and remember through stories. To engage your audience, tell them a story so they can see how you’re going to provide a satisfying solution to an important problem.
To view your product/service as a story, consider this.
Who/what is the villain? (the problem you are addressing)
What is the villain threatening to do or already doing?
What does it look like?
What does this mean?
Who/what is the hero? (your product/service)
What obstacles does the hero have to overcome? (Competition? Funding? Awareness? Marketing?)
What superpower does a hero need? (What addresses the people above?)
How is the hero going to fight the villain? (How will your solution defeat the problem and thrive?)
When the hero defeats the villain, how will things turn out (what will the outcome look like?)
Rehearsal is important
Once you’ve prepared your presentation, it’s time to rehearse. I know, it’s not necessarily fun, but it’s necessary. Think about it. Would an actor go before an audience without rehearsing? Of course not.
People often ask, “How often do I have to rehearse?” The simple answer is to rehearse until you know your performance like you know your favorite song. However, you don’t need to know it word-for-word. In fact, you don’t want to. But you want to know your concepts and their content by heart.
Remember your phone
This is a great way to practice. Before you begin, prop up your phone and record the video. Practice now. When you’re done, play the recording, but do it this way.
First, play your phone face down. This way, you will focus on your voice. Make notes about how you sound and if there are any changes you’d like to make.
Second, turn off the sound and watch it this time. By doing this, you will focus on your body language and the messages it sends. Make notes about how you look and if there are any changes you would like to make.
Third, play, watch and listen to it as usual. Make notes again about anything you want to correct, delete, or otherwise change.
Now it’s time for the slides
Once you’ve developed, rehearsed, and refined your presentation, it’s time to create your slide deck. That’s right! To create a compelling, engaging presentation, you select/prepare your slides after you develop your presentation. Unfortunately, most people do the opposite, usually with the boring “I want to stick a rusty thorn in my eye” presentations we see so often.
Before we proceed, please understand this. There is no such thing as PowerPoint presentation only slide decks and these slide decks only support your presentations.
Many people create too many slides. It wastes your time and your audience’s interest and patience. So how many are enough? Well, enough to get the job done, but not so much that they do more harm than good. As with many things in life, less is more.
Pitching is talking, not reading
Don’t, don’t, don’t use your slides as a teleprompter. Reading your slides comes off as unprepared, and if people think you didn’t prepare for your pitch, they probably won’t want to reward you.
And besides having tons of bullets on the slides that make you remember what you want to say (which you don’t want to), why do you put them there? They don’t benefit your audience. Think about it, having a bunch of bullets on your slides is like holding up your handwritten notes for your audience to read every time you express a new thought. You wouldn’t do that with your handwritten notes, so don’t do it with your slides. Instead, use the slides to support your main points.
Another reason you want to know your pitch well and not rely on slides as a teleprompter is the potential for technical issues. Be prepared for everything, including pitching without technology.
Take it directly
Now that you have developed your entire presentation, rehearsed it, revised it and rehearsed it again, you are ready to present it to people (family/friends/business associates). You don’t want to wait until your actual presentation to present to people for the first time. Do this until you are comfortable with it.
Ask people to ask questions so you learn how to best respond to questions your audience might ask you; Again, you don’t want the real thing to happen the first time you try this.
Remember two things
Earlier, I said that you can’t memorize every word, you have to know your concepts and talk to them. This is very true. However, you should develop a powerful one- or two-sentence opening and closing, and for maximum impact, remember it.
Remembering your opening helps you engage your audience immediately. Remembering your closing creates a compelling ending that gets your point across.
Perhaps the hardest thing
The day of your presentation, avoid caffeine and sugar. Both stretch your body and mind when you are trying to relax them. Also, abstain from alcohol for 48 hours before the presentation. It metabolizes into sugar, which also causes more body and brain activity than you’d like when it’s time to perform.
Being an entrepreneur means that you are constantly telling others about the product, service or company you have created. Therefore, it is important to know how to convey that information effectively. Follow these instructions and give yourself the greatest chance of success!
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