guidelines were prepared a
They provide you with some
tips on how to make an effective presentation of your venture
investors. To learn
how to prepare it, see
"8 Issues in 8 Minutes: How to Prepare and Effective
Venture Fair Presentation"
by Terry Collison.
The history of
financing is littered with the carcasses of truly worthy companies that just
never made it through
Thatís why Iím so dedicated to
the keys to a potential investorís brain.
You must plan your pitch based
on an awareness of how the investor is likely to be thinking.
of Your Audience
Then you must communicate to
the investor that you intend to
present your information in a
way that will help the investor assess whether this opportunity represents a
"fit" with the investorís interests and capabilities
(notice: I didnít phrase that in terms of "whether or not this is a Ďgoodí
Finally, if there is a fit,
you must indicate to the investor how you would be interested in proceeding ("As
soon as the funding is committed, our company intends to do X, Y, and Z") and
what the results might look like (here, a "qualitative" picture ó industry
collaborations, exit acquisitions, industry market-share percentages, etc. ó can
often be more useful than reams of "quantitative" info,
financial forecasts, etc.).
7 Routes to
So much for the content. You
the 8 key issues that have to be covered.
Pitch for Investors
of the Pitch for Investors
Now for the finesse part: the
of your message.
When it comes to
making a presentation,
the key mistake made by most
entrepreneurs (and mere mortals as well) is that they practice their
presentation by "saying it in their minds."
Itís fascinating to realize
how rapidly one can do a presentation in oneís mind and, by contrast, how long
it seems to get the damn words out when doing it "live."
Therefore, use an audiorecorder, use your wife, use your dog or even use your bedroom mirror but DO THE
PRESENTATION OUT LOUD and remember to WRITE DOWN YOUR START TIME AND YOUR FINISH
TIME and then calculate the elapsed time.
Here are the facts involved
with how long it
takes to do a typical presentation:
Type of slide
Type A: The "title" slide"
30 seconds from being
3 minutes from being
Type B: each of a presentationís two (2) or three
(3) "major" slides
2-1/2ó3 minutes each
5ó10 minutes each
Type C: any slide where 2 or 3 lines will be cited
or pointed to in order to be sure that the audience "files them away"
Type D: any slide which is included just so you
can say "and these are other important issues that are involved in what we are
doing" but without your going into any details
Type E: the "concluding" slide in the presentation
3 minutes to infinity
As an exercise, try
identifying each of your slides by type (Type A, B, C, D, or E) and multiplying
by the appropriate "typical" time requirement shown above. Hmmm.....
When Iím first organizing a
pitch on my own, for planning purposes I figure on an average of 3 minutes per
slide. Then I generally donít like the arithmetic implications of my trying to
pack so much info into the budgeted time. So (A) I decide to eliminate (or
condense or combine) some of the slides, (B) I decide to change some of the
slides from Type B (above) to Type C (the content of the slide remains
unchanged; only the length of time I talk about it has changed), and (C) I
re-figure the timing based on an average of 2 minutes per slide.
Then because I know Iím
probably lying to myself, I DO THE PRESENTATION OUT LOUD and actually TIME IT
(just as I am suggesting that you do).
When I do my own presentation
out loud, I confront the fact that ó smooth-tongued devil that I know myself to
be ó I still canít make the words come out sounding like a normal person.
So I set off to practice.
Presentation of Innompic Games by
mega-innovations by Innompic teams
My personal rule:
I try to do a presentation at least half a
dozen (i.e., six) times OUT LOUD.
This technique really works.
My very last piece of
advice (to be re-read the morning of the presentation or incorporated into
your presentation as a note that you will see before you start talking). Itís
Audience-members will be more
inclined to pay attention to what you are about to say and they can understand
you better if ó before you start to speak ó you simply (A) take a deep
breath, (B) make a silent pact with yourself that your first word will not be
"Well..." (or "Uh" or "Ummm"), and (C) SMILE (this last is the most
And, oh yes... as you proceed
through your presentation,
SMILING (this is called the "Figure Skaterís Rule).
You donít have to look goofy.
Just look pleasant.
Remember, you enjoy
talking about this stuff because, yes, you enjoy what youíre doing.
With luck, your pleasant
demeanor communicates to your audience (A) that you may be a decent guy to work
with and (B) that they too might enjoy coming on board.
Present with Passion
So hereís a large-print version that you can toss
on top of the foils as a reminder:
(A) Take a deep
(B) Your first word will not
(Keep a smile "in your voice" and look pleasant
throughout your entire presentation)
Bear in mind that you yourself
know so much detailed information about the industry that you naturally talk "at
the margin" (because this is where, for you, the information and the
distinctions are most meaningful).
But for folks outside the
industry or (worse) for people who have just a little knowledge, it is critical
for you to be clear and concise and focused and always organized and compelling
in what you say. "Basic" is better than "fancy."
Remember, you will start your
presentation with a clean slate. The bias is in your favor because the
that you wouldnít be there to make a presentation unless your company had
somehow been judged to be worthy of the opportunity to do so.
You can employ the time in any
way you deem to be effective. But you get only one shot.
In this setting, details are
your enemy rather than your allies. Therefore, use detailed info to buttress
your "big picture" themes and the arguments in favor of the investment
opportunity. Resist the temptation to use details as the fundamental
building blocks of your presentation.
Your goal is
not to have
investors "sign up" at the end of your presentation. Your
goal is actually "negative" goal. It is to prevent "bombs" being lobbed at you
in the form of questions from the audience. Your "positive" goal is to motivate
investors to contact you subsequently for a more serious discussion.
talks," he or she is usually a true master of his or her field. It happens quite
naturally. Go with this side of your personality.
Remember that you never get
a second chance to make a positive
Here is one effective way to
get listeners on your side by beginning with something sort of self-effacing
"My name is (Slide #1) and
I am the founder and President of XYZ.
"I have been involved in the
development of several previous technology solutions involving .
"That experience came during
my affiliations with other companies in the industry including .
"Now before we get into the
presentation, I must confess that I sometimes let my personal enthusiasm and
fascination with the details creep into everything Iím saying. For this
presentation, Iíve promised myself to focus primarily on just a handful of the
major issues (put up Slide #2 with the bulleted "outline.")
"Here are the issues that I
want to discuss with you this morning..." (then "name" them...)
(Put up Slide #3 and
Youíre on your way!
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