Saturday, June 22, 2019

Little things that make pitch presentation impactful

Ideas without a compelling pitch presentation is like our lives without Google maps these days- nomadic, devoid of direction and lost.

Unless you have bootstrapped your idea, you will invariably need to pitch your ideas effectively to raise capital. Even if you have bootstrapped your idea yourself, you will need to pitch your ideas effectively to the potential users and win their buy-in.

In an ultra-competitive world like ours today, one can't afford to lose focus on skills that are force-multipliers. One such skill is pitching your ideas with impact.

I came across these interesting train of tweets by Entrepreneur and VC, Sanjay Swamy. With due credit to him for the words that follow, i am sharing his words as is. In my role, I do lead various pitch mentoring sessions and will share my learnings in the upcoming blogs. Till then, enjoy Sanjay Swamy's words of wisdom.

1. Stand up and present - be near the projection screen or the TV and point to it, do not be sitting slouched over your laptop. Hopefully you have a colleague who can click - else do it yourself. But don't sit at your laptop!

2. You are the presentation - not what's on the slides. Have the minimum content on the slides and make sure people follow what YOU are saying - not just what's on the slides. You are doing this in-person for a reason!

3. Whatever you might say or do, please make eye contact with people. Read their eyes - silence neither means they agree nor does it mean they understood - more often than not, it means they did neither. Worse, it could mean they lost interest already.

4. Tell the story right. Answer questions directly - unless it is genuinely going to show up in your next 2-3 slides. Don't waste time in rhetoric - like "that's a good question" or "honestly speaking"...

5. There are some questions you don't answer by choice. These include the question of "what valuation are you expecting" - its only on @sharktank that you say I'm raising x for y. Asking this only sets an upper limit - and may be a turn-off.

6. Take notes during the meeting - if you are alone, people will be patient with you, if not, your colleague should be taking copious notes of all the comments.

7. Summarize action items at the end of the meeting. Agree upon next steps - and please please please, follow-through! I often have changed my mind about something because of the thoroughness and promptness of the follow-through!

8. Never bullshit your way - if you don't know the answer to a question, say so. Then go back, research the answer and come back with a quality answer - its much appreciated.

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