09 Jun BE PRESENT WHILE PRESENTING
BE A STORYTELLER
Let’s clear some confusion around making a good pitch presentation. It’s not one size fits all. Often, I’ve witnessed an entrepreneur who has rehearsed a certain style of presentation, falls into a chasm of doubt when the format is modified. It never should be that big of a deal, if you know your subject matter. Keep in mind that your audience may not know your subject matter so your role is that of a storyteller. No matter the style always be a storyteller. Hypnotize your audience into the story of your business as everyone loves a good story. Weave in some highlights that should be solid take-aways. They might not remember all the data that you throw at them, but they will surely remember a good story.
So here are some simple dos and don’ts:
Do size up your audience. For example, you have practiced a certain way to present your company, but the moderator announces that the format is going to be different. Don’t be bamboozled by it. Adapt and modify. That’s what I mean by “sizing up your audience”. In real life of business, it happens often when a curve ball is thrown at you. So, start practicing it early on. If the presentation is changed from power point to no power point; go with the free style form of Steve Jobs or now Mark Zuckerberg or Satya Nadella. Notice how they draw in the audience and make them feel that they are part of the narrative. That is the absolute key.
If are using the visual aid to help with the presentation, you should be the central character, not the visual aid. Remember it’s an aid and it’s there to assist you.
Always face your audience, glance towards your presentation once in a while but don’t start reading from it or else your audience will do the same and they could read faster than you and hence you will lose them.
It’s all part of an act. So, modulate your voice. Don’t be bone dry boring. Charm them with some light humor but not to distract them from the core subject. It’s a delicate balance. It’s about engaging your audience. Change your tone from time to time. For example; be extra animated when making a good point about your business model or how you are different from your competition. Project a tone of confidence when elaborating on your core team. You get the idea, don’t you?
Depending on time, it may be a good idea to ask a relevant question or two about the industry, business model, trend, etc.: from the audience. You keep them involved that way and make them feel part of the process.
During the Q&A session, don’t get into a debate on any one point or the other with any audience member. Do try to be truthful with your answers. Believe me, most times they know more than they lead you to believe. If you don’t know an answer, just say so with a caveat that you will address it at a later point. If an audience member makes a good point, acknowledge it and show your appreciation. On the flip side, if your presentation is quite technical and you feel the audience is lost, take time to explain in simpler terms. Remember always; that you are the storyteller.
Practice in front of a mirror, record your voice and be your own critique or ask someone you trust to do that. I’ve been asked on occasions, why a certain company got an extra meeting or even funding? Best way to answer that is, if everything being equal; they told a better story, engrossing their audience deeper and explaining their value proposition better. It quite that simple. Good luck and let’s hear your story at Survive and Thrive Today Oct 2018 event.
Swatick Majumdar. The author is the co-founder of Survive and Thrive Today, a community of startups, entrepreneurs, investors and mentors. The platform hosts a 3-day boot camp to teach entrepreneurs on the principles of success via mentorships, masterminds, indoor and outdoor activities. It’s a process designed to take them from surviving to thriving. For more information visit: http://surviveandthrivetoday.com