7 Essential Presentation Skills For Investor Pitching

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Do you want to develop expert presentation skills? Learn seven essential skills for pitching to investors that will inspire them to take action.

As the owner of a startup, you need investors to buy into your idea. For investors to see the full potential of your startup, the way you present to them is critical.
A big mistake is to bombard them with boring slides instead of using compelling stories and convincing data to engage and inspire them. Here are some presentation skills that will persuade investors to take action:

#1 Practice Beforehand

Presenting does not come naturally to many people. Rehearsing beforehand can help you to polish your delivery, catch mistakes, solidify your message and eliminate unnecessary details. Practice in front of your mirror and your team. Practice your presentation until you can do it in your sleep. At this point, you can loosen up, and make sure you come across naturally.

Your audience can tell if you’re just repeating from memory and it’s difficult for them to pick up on your passion and conviction. Once you’ve memorized your presentation, let go and allow it to flow. If you are as natural as possible and show you can think on your feet, investors will be impressed.

#2 Know Your Audience

Find out as much as you can about potential investors so you can tap into their desires and address fears in your presentation. An investor may have been burned by a business similar to yours. Another may never have invested in a startup before.

Some investors make a decision about whether to invest within the first few minutes of a presentation. They don’t need to know your entire background to make this decision. How does this information affect your flow and the points you want to emphasize?

Investors usually want to work with someone who is confident and who won’t need to be reassured constantly when times are tough. Combat any doubts before your presentation and project a positive attitude. Of course, being overly confident is often a big, red flag for investors – if you’re facing some tough issues, rather tackle them head-on. Brainstorm potential questions the investors may have and address them in your presentation.

#3 Tell A Story

Your core message should be clear within the first few minutes of your presentation. Start at the heart of your idea and then put flesh on it. Michael Medina from EssayOnTime says “entertaining your audience goes a long way towards a successful presentation. Yes, they need to understand your business model, market opportunity and competitive advantages but your story makes a presentation memorable.”

Investors are often making an emotional as well as a financial investment. They need to feel your passion and understand more about how you came up with the idea, how committed you are to its success and how your product or service will change the lives of your customers. Present the problem you’re solving, your solution, how you propose to implement it and why you’re the best person to do it.

#4 Give Simple Explanations

Investors may not know much about your specific industry and how it works. They will appreciate your ability to present complex subjects in simple terms. A clear pitch on a complex subject shows that you have done your research and you can communicate – critical skills for the success of a business.

Feed information to your audience in digestible chunks, building your case step by step. Use your words and your visuals to guide your audience on a journey.
If you feed investors information too rapidly, they have no time to process it and won’t retain it. Don’t try to teach them – you don’t have the time, and they don’t need to be experts in what you do.

The investors need to see the potential of your idea and be convinced you know what you’re talking about. Talking about in-depth industry specifics is unnecessary and also avoid the use of jargon and acronyms.

#5 Use Visual Aids

Investors need to see slides, charts, tables and graphs showing the numbers behind your idea. The key is to tell stories and use the visuals to complement them. A pitch should come so naturally that you don’t even need the slides – they are not there to prompt you but to support what you’re saying.

Guy Kawasaki is a renowned presenter, and he recommends the 10-20-30 rule. This rule states that you should have 10 slides, finish in under 20 minutes, and use text larger than 30-point. Following this rule makes your presentation digestible, focused and accessible. Slides should be kept simple, communicating only one idea. If someone can’t understand the point of your slide within a few minutes, you need to simplify it.

#6 Know Your Numbers

Investors will want to know about your startup needs, current overheads, the point of profitability and how long you estimate it will take to reach your goals. Studying all the relevant data ahead of your presentation, helps you pull out the highest impact figures rather than simple numbers.

Knowing the numbers enables you to talk knowledgeably about what these statistics mean for your business and if they indicate emerging trends. Investors see spreadsheets every day – your pitch is all about showing them how much insight you have into what the numbers mean for your business and industry.

#7 End Strongly

Plan for an exciting, succinct ending. Perhaps this is encouraging them to consider a world free of the problem you’re solving with a picture to back it up. Maybe it’s a bold sign-off phrase on your last slide. It could be reminding them just how committed you are to succeed.

The end of your presentation should hammer home what you most want people to remember when they walk out of the room. It doesn’t have to be flashy, but it should be concise and convincing.

The Bottom Line

Presenting and pitching are acquired skills, not necessarily innate talent. Practice and practice some more until you can come across and genuine, inspiring and convincing. Investors are likely to respond and take action when you’re able to deliver persuasive stories and back them up with convincing data.



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