This week we have a guest post from our friends over at Prezi. Specifically Rocio Medina, who is the regional Manager for Latin America, Spain and Portugal at Prezi. Before Prezi, Rocio spent 13 years helping global companies such as McDonalds, Mexicana Airlines, and Midas reach their goals in international markets. She also mentors young Latin entrepreneurs looking to bring their startups to the next level in Silicon Valley. So, in this post, Rocio talks about the most crucial aspects of any business pitch:
If you’ve ever seen the show Shark Tank, you know the tension and drama surrounding a big business pitch. The nervous entrepreneur, the busy investors, the five-minute presentation—when pitching a business idea, it may seem like many of the odds are against you.
If you want to succeed in the face of these challenges, however, you need to know how to impress your audience. What is the single most important thing investors are looking for in a pitch? The answer is you. Simply put, investors need to know whether you can be trusted with their money. In order to give an effective business pitch, you need to demonstrate that you are a secure, experienced, capable, and coachable person.
With that in mind, here’s a look at five tips for presenting yourself effectively, culled from the advice of experienced Silicon Valley investors:
1. Understand your audience. When giving any kind of pitch, it is very important to know your audience and what roles they play in the decision to invest in you and your idea. You need to give a pitch that will get them excited—and in order to do that, you need to understand what makes them tick. You need to speak their language and give them the information they need to hear. Make sure you use data points and stories that will increase their trust in you and make your idea sound promising.
2. Make your numbers tell a story. Anil Ranavat of Reservoir Capital believes that the best pitch tells a story—the story of your idea and the business you would like to build. Adding multimedia and graphs is a great way to keep your audience engaged, and data in particular is important when it comes to impressing investors. Make sure to frame any numbers you share within the context of your story.
3. Build trust by avoiding mistakes. Making mistakes can lead to investors’ losing confidence in you. Even the smallest of missteps can cost you a pitch—a single spelling error might indicate to your audience that you’re not aiming for perfection or that you are careless when it comes to the details. No matter how great an idea is, investors often deny investment to entrepreneurs who appear disorganized, inconsistent, or directionless. Kurt House of C12 Energy has been on both sides of the pitch as an entrepreneur and an investor, and he always passes on presenters who don’t have their act together. If you can’t nail a short presentation, how can you be expected to manage a growing company?
4. Present yourself the way you want to be seen. Always remember: You are the most important part of the presentation. Make sure that you present yourself as a smart and grounded individual. Key factors to keep in mind are posture, purposeful hand gestures, appropriate pauses, the energy and tone of your voice, and strong eye contact.
5. Practice until you can give your presentation in your sleep. The best way to avoid mistakes when the big day rolls around is by practicing. Give your presentation to your friends and family. Time how long it takes for you to get your key points across, and ask your test audience to point out any mistakes they notice.
Need more help developing a winning pitch? This prezi will guide you through the steps you need to make your case effectively, so you can bring your great ideas to life.