A few changes can make a mountain of impact. Here are some of our top tips for management teams speaking to investors.
1. Practice a strong self introduction: This is an opportunity for a powerful first impression and you could benefit from stronger word-choice and powerful summary of relevant experience (strive for 1 min in length). Smile when you introduce yourself, speak about your team or your customers. It shows pride.
2. Slow your pace to match theirs. You have said the information a number of times, but it will likely be the first time the audience is hearing it. If it is rushed it can indicate you are nervous. When you slow down, you also usually end up being more concise.
3. Lock and hold eye contact longer with the prospective client. It builds connection with them. If eye contact is scattered, it can appear that you or your thoughts are scattered. When in person, keep both hands visible and an open and lifted posture.
4. Eliminate filler words: "ah”, “I think” - They weaken your message. Try pausing instead. Pre-planning your transitions from one point/slide to the next can help.
5. Continue to polish and practice the top three takeaways on each slide. This will give a calm confidence to your opening moments - the stakes are too high to read it or wing it! To practice: Try scripting key takeaway points/highlights. Once you are happy with the word choice, say them out loud and record yourself (voice memo app on your phone). Listen to the recording back a few times to familiarize yourself with the "flow". The goal is not to memorize every word, but rather recall the words you want quickly and deliver them in a way that seems very natural.
6. When presenting data-filled slides/spreadsheets, stay concise and use your verbal "air-time" to speak to the headline topic, top 3-4 key takeaways, and data or insights you can share to add value (“As you can see in the upper right corner, the data is telling us ...."). Quickly get to the "So what" is the data telling you? Do NOT go into process/calculation info unless asked.
7. Use interesting transitions from one point/slide to the next to connect the dots in an engaging and memorable way: “What truly differentiates us is our ability to.….(title of next slide).” “That is important, because…….”. AVOID “I’m going to talk about…”
8. Use vocal variety, facial expression, and intentional hand gestures to keep energy and excitement high especially when speaking about the plan for future growth. Every time you talk about your customers and clients - smile. Investors are buying the future of the company, so verbally highlight all the ways your company is better than the rest and the sustainability and scalability for the future.
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