Impressing Investors: Rules for the Roadshow

Congratulations on bringing your innovative idea to the investor presentation stage.

Now comes your next challenge–creating a winning presentation.

Here are 8 key ideas for success:

  1. Develop the mindset of a ‘professional presenter’.

In addition to innovator, entrepreneur, CEO, CFO, or executive, your skills as a professional presenter/communicator are also being judged. Professional presenters know their words and delivery are being scrutinized. A $10,000,000 decision could rest on the right rhetoric!

You are prepared, vigilant, and self-aware with your business acumen. Apply the same rigor to getting your presentation ready.

  1. Think theme.

What do you want investors, analysts, and interested listeners to remember about your firm? Tell them in fifteen words or less. A good idea is to focus on what sets you apart. Ex: ”Powerline meets the growing need for networked, efficient and easy-to-use audio conference systems.”

  1. Get Organized.

We’re not talking about spring cleaning your office here. Devote time to packaging your message efficiently, prioritizing the points you want to make and developing a catchy and comfortable opening and closing.

Importantly, troubleshoot the top ten questions you’re likely to be asked and outline how you’ll respond. The two biggest organizational mistakes: trying to include too much information and not spending enough time on what makes you viable and valuable in the marketplace.

  1. Team up.

A startup technology client told us that he and his teammate, who worked remotely, would just “show up” for an investor presentation without preparation.

Not great.

Investors notice how you transition to each other, whether you step on or contradict each other’s remarks, and how respectfully you regard each other during the Q and A.

Investors think this way: If presenters look and act together, it’s a better bet for their investment. If presenters are fumbling during the presentation, heaven knows what they’ll do with our money.

  1. Practice until you’re confident.

Confidence as a businessperson doesn’t always translate into confidence as a presenter. That’s because there’s a big difference between having knowledge and speaking about that knowledge. We recommend at least five team practice sessions, as well as rehearsing on your own to refine structure, gain fluency, and master delivery techniques.

  1. Work to become a great speaker.

Ok, at least a halfway decent one!

How else will you be favorably judged in a competitive venture capital world? Many clients spend months learning persuasive delivery skills. Conveying vocal and gestural enthusiasm, looking focused and engaged, and using influential gestures are key techniques to develop.

  1. Be visually engaging.

Most clients rely on visuals to tell their story, yet most are either too distracting, wordy, or lack appeal. Consider using slide experts to refine wording and graphics.  Make sure you reference charts and graphs in your verbal comments.  For example, “This bar graph shows the increase in audio conferencing in medium-sized businesses in the past five years.”

  1. Finally, relax!

You want to feel and be natural – and your listeners will be more comfortable if you are. If you’ve followed all the rules for the roadshow we’ve mentioned, you’ve earned the right to enjoy presenting, persuading, and raising the funds you need.

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