How To Master Public Speaking And Pitching

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When founding your own business you will find yourself talking a lot. Whether or not you feel comfortable standing in front of a crowd, here are our top tips to make the most out of it!

One of the first things all new entrepreneurs should take into consideration is the fact that the work they are about to put into their newborn business is going to have to be supported by a lot of talk.

Think about it: finding investors, people to work with, participating in startup events, presenting new ideas and concepts; these are all essential actions in the life of a startup and their rate of success depends almost completely on the communicational skills of the speaker.

Being able to speak in front of an audience in a relaxed, yet engaging manner, as well as successfully managing to present your case in front of a board of VCs, are fundamental skills every entrepreneur should possess.

What Are The Numbers Saying?

Every individual is different though, and while some are born as natural speakers, others need to put a bit of extra work into this. Studies have shown that only 10% of the population is into public speaking, while another 10% is completely terrified even by the thought of standing in front of a group of people. Not to mention the talking part, which is most likely going to cause nausea, extreme anxiety and even panic attacks.

We’re left with 80% of people who do not enjoy this particular activity, but who know that they will survive it. Not sleeping the night before or feeling a few butterflies in the stomach, are just a few bumps in the road. It’s just a bit of adrenaline, but they know they are going to make it eventually.

3 Tips Master Public Speaking

When it comes to becoming a master in public speaking, there are three main rules to take into consideration:

#1 Ask Questions

Never start your speech talking about yourself or about your company. The first 30 seconds are crucial, because this is the time when you grab your listeners’ attention. Make it count!

You want to keep your audience engaged, so asking them questions on a regular basis, will not only bring you closer to them, but it will also help them keep their eyes on you, thus increasing their level of engagement. It’s all about maintaining an increased level of interaction between you and your listeners.

Talk with the people, not to them!

#2 Give Examples

Everything you say has to be sustained by concrete visualisations. Do not talk to people about your opinions, show them what you think! How can you do that? Support your stories and general statements with specific examples and facts.

#3 Take It Easy With Powerpoint

This is a great tool for showing graphics and concrete visualisations of important points in your presentation, but that is all there is to it. Way too many people are using it wrongly and turning it into the centerpiece of their presentation, when they are the ones who should be in the center of attention.

What happens is that there are too many slides filled with too much information, so naturally, people’s minds will go numb, thus having their attention shifted from the main message.

From Speaking To Pitching

Next, you want to have excellent pitching skills. How you choose to present your case and tell your story is just as important as the story itself, when you are sitting in front of your potential investors. You might be lucky enough to be a natural storyteller, but if you’re not don’t worry! Here are a couple of facts that will get you through:

#1 Start With A Powerful Overview Of Your Company

By powerful I mean short and concise. The message has to be crystal clear, so that investors will understand your company’s area of activity immediately. It will keep the rest of pitching running smoothly.

#2 Keep It Simple

Short and simple sentences are preferable, instead of long and overcrowded descriptions. Remember Einstein’s words? If you can’t explain it simply, then you probably don’t understand it well enough.

#3 Bring Along Your Team

Some investors like to see that the team staying behind a company is united. Make sure that your co-founders are also present and engaged in your presentation.

#4 Answer Questions

You might be asked about a certain aspect in your presentation, so even though, you might cover it later on, provide them with a brief answer. If you don’t have the right answer, don’t freak out. Sometimes, it’s all about how you manage to answer difficult questions, rather than what the correct answer is.

#5 Provide A Brief Summary

When you are on the point of ending your presentation, go through a quick overview of your sayings. Touch the main points and draw the final conclusions, while reinforcing the main reasons for which they should invest in your company.

#6 Negative Feedback

Don’t let yourself be discouraged by this type of feedback. You will probably receive it more than once, but this should only motivate you to go further. Ask what went wrong everytime this happens, so that next time you’ll know not to repeat the same mistakes!

Both, pitching and public speaking, have one main thing in common: grabbing your audience’s attention. Keep your message clear and concise. Add visual key points to it. And one more thing: rely purely on yourself and not on tens of PowerPoint slides!

 

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