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How to Calm Your Nerves Before a Big Presentation

How to Calm Your Nerves Before a Big Presentation | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Your audience doesn’t have to know you’re shaking on the inside.

It’s not easy getting ready for a big presentation. The stakes can feel high, and in our desire for things to go well, the anticipation builds. Fear, anxiety, or even paralysis can kick in. What can you do to calm your nerves when this happens? Read more: click image or title.

 

 

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Via Ariana Amorim, massimo facchinetti
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Tips to control your nerves.

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How to make a presentation interesting?

How to make a presentation interesting? | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

In this article, we'll teach you how to make a presentation
interesting, from planning your story to creating your slides. 

There’s a lot going into creating a compelling presentation. From planning to creating and delivering, and you should tackle each process accordingly. In this post I’ll refer to the first two parts, planning and creating; you can check this article for some great delivery tips. Read more: click image or title.
 

 

FREE Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

Done for You Business Plan: http://bit.ly/12KAGmM

Dave...I downloaded your business plan template...It is great!!!...My tax consultants say your plan is amazing. Thanks Dave!!!


Via Slidebean
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#Slidebean knows how to make #presentations.

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Slidebean's curator insight, October 3, 2016 5:18 PM
Make sure to cause an impact with your next presentation using professional storytelling!
 
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LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman shares 4 secrets to a killer LinkedIn profile - Phoenix Business Journal

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman shares 4 secrets to a killer LinkedIn profile - Phoenix Business Journal | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman shares the biggest mistakes he sees LinkedIn users making — and how to correct them.

If you truly want to craft a killer LinkedIn profile, the guy who helped create the world's largest social network for professionals has a few tips.

During a video interview, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman shared the biggest missteps he sees users making with their LinkedIn profiles. Read more: click image or title.

 

 

FREE Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

Dave...I downloaded your business plan template...It is great!!!...My tax consultants say your plan is amazing. Thanks Dave!!!

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Making your "pitch" on #Linkedin, from the #co-founder.

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Doing a TED Talk: The Full Story - Wait But Why

Doing a TED Talk: The Full Story - Wait But Why | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
In August of 2015, I was invited to give a TED Talk. Here's the full (very stressful) story.

You’ve probably heard this Seinfeld joke:

According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.

Knowing humans, this shouldn’t be that surprising. I’ve mentioned before that we all have this problem where we’re weirdly obsessed with what other people think of us, so it makes sense that public speaking should be our collective phobia.

But then we also live in a world where public speaking can happen to any of us at any time. Even if you never give an official “talk,” there’ll be some other time when you have to give a big toast at a wedding or present in front of a big group at work or speak at a funeral or some other ceremony. Very few of us are safe.

Over the last couple years, as I’ve done a small amount of Wait But Why-related public speaking, I’ve been able to slowly get over the fear. I’ve learned that if you just be yourself and talk like you normally do, it’s usually received well by the audience, even if you’re clearly nervous.

And that was all fine until August of 2015, when I was invited to do a TED Talk. Read more: click image or title.

 

Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km
Dave,
Your BP template help me achieve the goals I've been trying for 5 years. The template led me to produce an effective tool to attract the investors I need.
Thanks
Robert

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Ever wondered what it's like to do a #TED talk? And what exactly is TED and what is the story? This article gives you the complete rundown, including having to go there and actually do it. Great article.

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Giving a Presentation? Three Ways to Leave Your Fingerprint

Giving a Presentation? Three Ways to Leave Your Fingerprint | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

I’ll never forget my first speech. 

I’ll never forget my first speech. It was 1964 in Cooperstown, NY, and I was a 29-year-old project manager at GE who’d been asked to present a new plastics venture to a group of 300 high-level corporate types. Weeks beforehand, I meticulously wrote out every word I was going to say, and practiced reading it out loud what felt like a thousand times. Regardless, my rank inexperience in front of a crowd, combined with my self-consciousness about my lifelong stammer, made me a complete wreck, and without getting specific, let’s just say I spent a lot of time “feeling ill” the day of the big event, which ended up being, as you might imagine, an exercise in endurance for both me and the audience. I stunk.Today, giving a speech or a presentation is one of the most fun things I do in life. I love it, and having been out in front of more than one million people in audiences around the world in the past fifteen years, I’d like to think I’ve come a long way toward getting it right. At the same time, I’ve come to believe a person’s skill in public speaking – be it in front of a crowd of 1,000 strangers or a meeting with five close associates – is more essential than ever. Making your case in writing is increasingly a thing of the past. You are what you say; your communication approach is your fingerprint, both professional and personal. I believe this so deeply, in fact, that we now dedicate much of a semester to effective presentations at the Jack Welch Management Institute.Now, hundreds of books and articles, if not more, have been written about the “art of public speaking,” so I know I’m not inventing gravity here. But from a very personal perspective, allow me to share my three rules of success. Read more: click image or title.Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km
Via THE *OFFICIAL ANDREASCY*
Marc Kneepkens's insight:
Jack #Welch about speaking in public. He gives three simple rules to convey the message and keep your #public interested.
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How to prepare a startup pitch deck for Demo Day? (500 Startups Style)

How to prepare a startup pitch deck for Demo Day? (500 Startups Style) | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

My approach to presentations has always related significantly to storytelling: telling a good and exciting story that creates an impact in your audience, both in their minds as in their hearts. This is now combined with the input from the 500 Startups team as we went through the program. To check this slide presentation, click on the image, then start by clicking on the arrows.




Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km



Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Nice way to make #SlideDecks. Very visual, clear and simple.

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What Makes A Killer Business Pitch For Branson And Other Top Investors

What Makes A Killer Business Pitch For Branson And Other Top Investors | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Entrepreneurs don't have to be pitch perfect, but passion, projection of strengths and awesome products are essential

Business angels and venture capitalists and business angels play a vital role in new business creation, providing capital and access to a powerful resource network and enabling thousands of entrepreneurs to realise their dreams of creating and growing new ventures.

But they don’t make investment decisions lightly, and entrepreneurs hoping to secure some of their cash must deliver the Holy Grail of business funding; the killer investment pitch. But what exactly is it?

Virgin founder Richard Branson has invested in around 40 start-ups in recent years. In his view a pitch should ‘short, to the point, and fun to deliver’.

He says: “Keep it tight and simple. Explain what your company does and how it will change business for good, and highlight the strengths of your team to make it happen. Do this with an entertaining, unique and quick delivery, and you should make a lasting impact.”

Many of his own funding decisions were based on the outcome of micro pitches. One of the best examples Branson can recall was Igor Ruberts of Boxhug, winner of this year’s Virgin Media Pioneers Pitch 2 Rich competition.

He said: “It took him two minutes to explain how his storage company Boxhug worked, how it could improve people’s lives, and how it could scale. Then he gave everyone on the judging panel a hug – a great way to end his pitch!”

It takes a certain skill to be able to demonstrate that level of knowledge of your business model, its financial architecture, and target market in just two minutes. Yet the average length of a funding pitch to angel investors is ten minutes, still not a huge amount of time to cover the essentials in enough detail to satisfy a potential investor. However, many are not looking for perfection.

In theory, a killer pitch consists of many different aspects, says Christoph Janz founding partner at Berlin-based early-stage VC Point Nine Capital; an experienced and well-rounded team, a large market opportunity, a proven product, scalable customer acquisition channels, clear competitive advantages.

“In reality, at the seed level, which is where we invest, almost no start-up ticks all these boxes,” he says. “However, as former general and secretary of state Colin Powell once said, ‘you hire for strength and not for lack of weakness’.

Similarly, Point Nine Capital doesn’t look for the ‘perfect’ pitch, but for awesomeness in some areas; typically some combination of a gorgeous product, enthusiastic beta users and extremely passionate founders.

Janz says: “One stand-out pitch I recall, which led to an investment from us, came from Mambu, a cloud-based banking software platform. Included in the pitch was the fact that Mambu enables financial institutions to provide banking services to the billion or so people on the planet who don’t have a bank account, and could therefore have a huge beneficial impact on the lives of tens of millions of people.”

However it is often the deal-making activity of venture capitalists that receives the most interest. VCs receive thousands of business proposals every year, yet only invest in a few businesses, in an intriguing a decision-making process that Jeffrey Petty and Marc Gruber, academics from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, set out to investigate.

They analyzed 11 years of contemporaneous deal-related data from a relatively small European VC firm that focuses on investing in companies within a specific high-tech, high growth industry. During this time frame the firm received 3,631 proposals and made 35 portfolio investments across two funds, at an average acceptance rate of one per cent.

Among the key conclusions from the research was that ‘no’ was not necessarily a definitive rejection. In total, 438 proposals were submitted more than once, with the acceptance rate for resubmissions approximately the same as for original submissions.

A surprisingly high 10% of the 3631 pitches were classified ‘dead’ because the VC firm did not have the opportunity to pursue them. Around half failed to respond to the VC’s requests for more information, and the rest simply appeared to have changed their mind about VC funding.

Product and service-related criteria were a key reason for rejection, but rarely the management team.

“You can always bring in a management team,” says Gruber.

The most important criteria for deal rejection were VC fund-related. Many viable pitches failed because of VC perception that evaluating, monitoring or managing the deal would take too much time.

So what can entrepreneurs take away from Petty and Gruber’s research?

“If the VC has shown any interest at all in the proposition, the entrepreneur needs to stay in touch with the VC and build a relationship. They should not be afraid to resubmit a proposal at a later date,” says Petty.

They should also do due diligence on the VC firm and tailor a proposal to the firm’s portfolio strategy at that point in time.

“Two firms with similar investment strategies may view the same proposal differently because they are focused on different criteria or are at different stages in their fund’s lifecycle,” adds Gruber.

In a nutshell, a killer pitch is one in which the underlying message is crystal clear, says Andrew Morris, Chief Executive of the UK Academy for Chief Executives.

He said: “This venture is the result of creative thinking, validated by thorough research and supported by cautious forecasts, all delivered by the most committed professional team in the business.”



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km



Marc Kneepkens's insight:

A good pitch is essential to get funded.

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Deliver a Great Business Pitch with These 5 Tips

Deliver a Great Business Pitch with These 5 Tips | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Need some tips to improve your elevator pitch? Hopefully these expert suggestions will point you in the right direction.

1. Know your audience and how much time you’ll have

Make every pitch specific to the person or group you are speaking to. Highlight how your business will match their needs and interests.
It’s also crucial to know how much time you will have to deliver your pitch. Here are some guidelines for what should be included in different pitch lengths: – A 30-second pitch should convey enough information to grab their attention.

  • A two-minute pitch peaks their interest and tells a longer story.
  • A five-minute pitch gives a rough outline of your business idea and implementation.
  • An hour-long pitch gets into the finer details of your business concept and team.
2. Keep it simple, stupid

The widely hailed acronym K.I.S.S. (“keep it simple, stupid,” not the band) is a great motto to follow when you’re drafting business pitches. Don’t get technical or go on tangents: it’s critical to keep on point or else you’ll bore your audience.
If you can address the following elements in 30 seconds, you’re well on your way!

  • In two sentences, describe the problem that exists and the solution you’re proposing.
  • Next, explain your business’s potential for growth, and why you are the one to lead it.
3. Tell a story

It’s essential to weave a story into your pitch, no matter the length. People, even numbers-oriented business folks, connect to stories more than facts and figures. The art of writing a great pitch is telling a captivating story while sprinkling in relevant data.
As the late Maya Angelou famously said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Stories make an emotional imprint: they’re crucial to your pitch.

4. Know your metrics

That being said, you must demonstrate that you understand the metrics of your business and market to convince anyone to support your venture. Here are some metrics you should have an expert understanding of before drafting a pitch:

  • Give best, moderate, and worse case financial scenarios.
  • Be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-related) with your budget goals.
  • Describe your competition and explain how your idea is different and advantageous.
5. Listen to the questions you receive after the pitch

Make sure to write down the questions you receive after your pitch. Usually these questions ask for clarification on something that was not well understood during the presentation. If you make sure to revise your pitch to make these points easier to comprehend, you will get fewer questions after your next presentation and your audience will probably be more excited by your ideas. Score!


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Good tips for a good pitch.

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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Approaching an Investor

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Approaching an Investor | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

We are pitched thousands of business plans annually. Here are the top five mistakes to avoid.

“All these investors claim that there are not enough opportunities out there to invest in, yet when I send them my business plan, I don’t even get a response.”

Considering that venture capital investors get tens of thousands of business plans, investor decks and other pitches annually, it is hardly surprising that not all of them get an investment. Based on reactions to one of my previous posts on investor feedback, it seems that a lot of entrepreneurs don’t even receive a response to their presentation.

At the end of the day, this is the investor’s fault. But there are certain mistakes that I have seen entrepreneurs approaching Credo commit over and over again, which significantly diminish the chance of any investor reacting to the pitch. Thankfully, they are pretty easy to fix.

Here are the top five which anyone can and should avoid:

To read the full article, click on the image or title.



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km




Via Ivan Berlocher
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Good points. Also read 16 reasons why your investment proposal won’t get read! : http://www.business-funding-insider.com/investment-proposal.html

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Michael Binzer's curator insight, May 18, 2014 1:05 PM

Good info if you are thinking of starting up as an entrepreneur. Also the business plan template

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Talk Like TED: 3 Unbreakable Laws of Communication

Ideas are the currency of the 21st century. Ideas - persuasively delivered - can inspire people, astonish them and change their lives. This slideshow explores the three laws of communication, breaking down the book Talk Like TED; The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds into three sections. 



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km


Via Justin Jones
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Very clear presentation. Certainly something to learn here. Apply it when pitching investors.

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How To Put Together The Best Elevator Pitch

How To Put Together The Best Elevator Pitch | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

How To Put Together The Best Elevator Pitch. You could have the best product in the world, but it doesn't mean anything if you can't sell or get users. 

It’s much easier to build a relationship and trust with someone when your talking to them in person rather than over the internet. The biggest problem is how to construct that elevator pitch so that the person you’re talking to will fall in love with your product or service.

To read the full article, click on the image or title.



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

This article teaches the "Elevator Pitch". Exact, to the point, direct. Make it happen. Not just for funding, but for meeting people the first time and telling them in less than a minute who you are and what you do.

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Your Relationship With An Audience Starts Before You Walk On Stage

Your Relationship With An Audience Starts Before You Walk On Stage | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
How to connect with an audience before you begin to speak.

Most speakers think that their job begins when they get on stage and open their mouths to utter their first words.  Most discussions of how to start a speech begin there – obviously enough – with the first words you say.

But in truth, your relationship begins well before that.  There’s your introduction, which sets up your connection, for good or ill, with the people soon to be in front of you.   How does that present you?  You get to control what you send to the conference organizers for your introducer to read.  I’ve heard many more weak introductions than strong ones, and they’re often not well delivered by the V-P of Whatever that gets the assignment to introduce you.

To read the full article, click on the title.

Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km


Via Karen Dietz
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Use this before making your pitch to a panel of investors. Excellent ideas.

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Karen Dietz's curator insight, January 21, 2014 2:43 PM

Here's a quick article with lots of insight. It's rare that I find a post about connecting with your audience before giving a presentation.


Almost all the articles I find are focused on creating the presentation. Or on delivery. Hardly anyone talks about preparing for the relationship with your audience. Until now!


There's advice here on your introduction, your "offstage beat" (cultivating the attitude you walk on stage with), and mingling with your audience before hand.


Connecting well with your audience is a critical success factor. Read this article to build these practices into your presentations.


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling atwww.scoop.it/t/just-story-it

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10 Executive Tips on How to Make a Lasting First Impression

10 Executive Tips on How to Make a Lasting First Impression | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Like it or not, people make snap judgements about you all the time. Here's how to make sure they're positive ones.

Whether it's a sales call, an interview, or chance meeting with someone you may want to know better, there are things you can do to leave a positive and lasting impression. Check out these quotes from executives who give their advice on how to do it. Read more: click image or title.

 

 

FREE Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km


Via Sandra Brevett
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

First impression is very important, in business and in life.

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5 Psychology-Based Methods to Connect With Your Audience

5 Psychology-Based Methods to Connect With Your Audience | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Before you can create strategies to connect with people, you need to understand what motivates them.

Do you want to learn how to get audiences to tweet, like and share your content? Of course you do! But it takes more than simply uploading or posting and hoping for the best. It’s about sharing content that makes people care -- content that makes people want to share your message with their network.

More and more people are connecting on social media and blogs. This means there are larger opportunities to promote your business. It also means that there’s more competition to stand out amongst a sea of information.

The good news -- you can use proven methods to connect with people. Crafting content that people care about begins with understanding what motivates people. Let’s take a look at five psychology-based principles you can start using. Read more: click image or title.

 

 

FREE Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

Dave...I downloaded your business plan template...It is great!!!...My tax consultants say your plan is amazing. Thanks Dave!!!


Via malek
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Using certain techniques or approaches can help when learning to connect better with your audience. Whether it is an #investorpitch or a simple presentation.

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malek's curator insight, August 9, 2016 9:57 AM

Crafting content that people care about begins with understanding what motivates people.

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How to Introduce Yourself Before a Presentation

How to Introduce Yourself Before a Presentation | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

You only have one chance to make a great first impression, and you need to know how to introduce yourself. Having an outstanding introduction will help you break the ice and generate interest in your audience. Follow these 11 guidelines to make your next presentation a success. Read more: click image or title.

 

 

FREE Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

 

 

Via Slidebean
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#Introduce yourself or get introduced by someone, here are a few good ideas.

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Slidebean's curator insight, July 8, 2016 11:21 AM
Do you want to make your next presentation a success? Follow these 11 guidelines to make a great first impression!
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10 Tips to Become a Master Presenter and Move a Room

10 Tips to Become a Master Presenter and Move a Room | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

Got an important presentation coming up at work? Want to nail that perfect pitch? You’re in luck because today, we’ve got some hot presentation tips for you.

Enjoy!

How to Become a Master Presenter and Move a Room

1. Know your audience’s pain

Before anything, you want to connect with your audience. You want to know their deepest pain points.



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great tips, well thought out. #Presenting is not easy, these ideas will definitely help make your presentation better.

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Top Three Pitch Presentation Tips for Tech Startups

Top Three Pitch Presentation Tips for Tech Startups | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

You’re standing in the hallway with a group of fellow entrepreneurs; everyone is nervous, yet pretending not to be.

In the room next door, 400 people sit awaiting your appearance on the main stage. You are sixth in the line to give a two-minute pitch to the 800 eyeballs looking in your direction.

Do you have a clicker for the PowerPoint? Are you ready for the Q&A section afterwards? Should you rely on your note cards or try to do it from memory?

Just to add to your nerves, your phone is buzzing in your pocket. Will you check it now, or might it throw you off? Wait..where is the closest bathroom???



Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km


Via Pantelis Chiotellis
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

How do you get yourself under control before delivering your #pitch to an audience? Here are some interesting tips. I especially like 3.

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It's Not Them, It's You!

It's Not Them, It's You! | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
The next time you have a chance to step up and pitch to a crowd, expecting them to invest, remember these things.

How long will it be before entrepreneurs realize and start treating fundraising is a sales process, not as an inalienable right?

Last week I attended my umpteenth Angel group forum. Four formal pitches, six mini pitches, plus a few updates from the ecosystem. Not an uncommon pattern for a gathering by an Angel group.

The problem: nearly all of these presenters presented facts and figures. Slide after slide of the same-old, tired 10-slide set of details. Far too many details. Details no investor can remember today.

The problem: presentations, not stories. Slide after slide filled with bullets and text, which presenter after presenter turned to face rather than connecting with the audience. Rather than grabbing the audience’s hearts and making them feel the importance of the startup’s work.

The problem: nine presenters who presented from behind the lectern, fifteen feet from the nearest investors, rather than stepping up to look those investors in the eye, to begin the process of building trust, which is the core of any investment.

The problem: pitch after pitch that were crafted without regard to the fact that the day would be filled with other pitches. Pitch after pitch after pitch that failed to bring anything entertaining or interesting to stand out amongst the competition. Where in fundraising, the competition is EVERY OTHER company raising money.

Finally, the biggest problem of them all: far too many entrepreneurs who pitched without excitement and without passion. If the speaker is not excited, there is no chance anyone in the audience will get excited. What a waste of time and energy delivering a tired, boring, cookie-cutter business plan. Read more: click image or title.




Need funding?

Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Standing out and being different is part of marketing. Every single detail of your business, or would-be business - such as a pitch to investors - has to be created from this point of view. Make it creative, tell a story, be different.

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European Startups, Get Your Pitches Together | TechCrunch

European Startups, Get Your Pitches Together  |  TechCrunch | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

I’ve pitched at least 250 investors over the years, mentored hundreds of startups and have plenty of fail behind me. So I feel I know a thing or two about

pitching, and European startups are so often really rather bad at it.

Austria, and specifically Vienna, is famous for classical music and Sachetorte more than tech startups, but I’d heard good things about Pioneers Festival and so wearing my early-stage investor hat, I found myself consuming 50 startup pitches at the Haus der Industrie. To give yourselves a better chance of securing funding – and customers – here are 10 suggestions to get right.

1. Problem/Solution Fit

Define what you do; this is the most basic aspect of a pitch. To my ongoing astonishment, this so often gets overlooked or poorly communicated.

According to the interactive event app (which allowed investors to submit questions and vote) at least half of the startup pitches didn’t communicate clearly what they do. Top of the feedback was “I don’t get it.” Often the judges didn’t get it either and had to ask in the Q&A.

The size of the problem you solve and how well you solve it creates the value in your business. There is simply no excuse for not being able to pitch coherently the problem you solve and how you solve it in one minute let alone three minutes.

A good test is to pitch your Mum (use your team’s family, too). This is a serious suggestion. If your mother understands it then you’ll guarantee tech investors (and your customers) understand what, why and how, too.

2. Speak English Clearly

As a born English speaker whose only second language is French in the form of a pigeon, I feel a tinge of guilt criticising others who don’t get to pitch in their native tongue, but the harsh truth is that unless you can speak clear English as a CEO pitching an international market, you’re going to struggle. I’ve even heard that a Y Combinator representative said that CEOs with “thick unintelligible foreign accents” quite simply fail.

Record yourself and ask a native speaker their honest opinion. Better, record yourself and ask other people for whom English is their second language. Invest in lessons/speech therapy if necessary. And in addition to that…

3. Speak Slowly

As an occasional MC/speaker I certainly still sometimes fall foul of this. Speaking more slowly does not come naturally. It feels odd. But it sounds good. Slower speech will not only help with clarity if you have a strong accent, it will give you more gravitas. There are lots of great resources to help you improve your speaking; this is one of many. If you feel that you’re talking way too slowly, you’re probably speaking about the right speed.

4. The Right Slides

Too many decks continue to be confused, bloated, overly complex or all three. I’d recommend you take Sequoia’s template as a starting point, though some cash / revenue projections may not apply if you’re very early stage. They’ve made a lot of money in this business. If it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for most investors.

Bear in mind obviously the content will change depending on whether this is a deck to be read, studied closely pre-investment or something you’re presenting in three minutes. Equally, if your presentation is just three minutes you obviously wouldn’t include all these slides; apply common sense.

5. Less Is More: Simple Content

If I’m reading a slide, I’m not listening to you. When I’ve finished reading, I’ll look at you again and start listening again. You have precious seconds to make an impression and you want people to engage with you, the human being on stage, and listen to what you’re saying.

Complicated slides compete for audience attention. Why set yourself up with a competitor? Steve Jobs was possibly the king of scarce slides, using imagery and allegedly never more than three bullet points and usually only a word (or three) each. You may not be launching the new iPhone but you can steal Steve’s tricks to help keep people focused on the important things: What you’re saying.

6. Tell a Story

Humans are emotional animals; yes even investors. With a three minute pitch (as it was at Pioneers) you might think it’s a distraction to tell a story. But don’t forget story telling is the most ancient of modern human’s ways to communicate information, be it cave gossip or religion.

Half your challenge is to engage the audience within the first 5-10 seconds before their heads tip back down to phones and laptops. A snappy authentic story which positions your problem / solution fit can engage and differentiate you. Don’t include fluff (this isn’t bedtime story telling) but providing context and stimulating curiosity in the first 30 seconds, may mean people leave the wifi alone for the remainder of your pitch.

7. Practice!

If you believe Malcom Gladwell then 10,000 hours is the time it takes to become supremely accomplished at anything. That’s not feasible for your pitch obviously, but practicing 10, 20 or 50 times is. With all the cost and time to attend a conference, not to mention the subsequent impact your 1, 3, 5 or 10 minute pitch will have on an audience, practice really will help make perfect.

So many founders I know don’t properly practice their pitches for specific events which often have specific pitch lengths. So practice; rinse, wash, repeat. It will really pay off.

8. Pause

Before you begin, take a few seconds to pause. There’s more about this in the book I recommended above. Gaining composure and asserting yourself on the stage is vital and you can afford five seconds to avoid the impression of a manic hyena, before you launch into your winning pitch.

9. Answer questions quickly

The Q&A session is a great time to show your mettle. Perhaps surprisingly, this is closely linked to practice. If you’ve not pitched “friendly” investors, your team, your family or others, you won’t be used to answering the tough questions.

Get to the point when answering the question and if cornered (e.g. because an investor asks your valuation or you don’t know the answer) know in advance what you’re going to say, even if it’s “I’m happy to discuss that afterwards off stage.”

Even if you’re a seasoned pitch artist for your startup, sit down and write the 10 questions you’d hate to be asked. They’re probably exactly the ones you’ll get.

10. Hire a Coach

You can hire a coach or get a mentor or another entrepreneur to help you shape your deck, but you can also hire a coach to help you with your presentation skills.

Given how important a snappy delivery with absolute clarity in a startup world of elevator pitches is, paying for a day or two of presentation coaching (assuming you hire someone good) could make all the difference the next time you’re onstage, and it’s something startup founders rarely seem to see value in doing.

Don’t forget, even the most populous leaders in our world do this – from Presidents to Prime Ministers – they all have coaches or have been coached.

In Conclusion

There are many more tips and tricks you can employ (and far better speakers or teachers than I out there who can give them) but reviewing the performance of the 50 startups Pioneers, these thoughts were the elephants in the room, which, as startup founders, you need to take outside the zoo and aggressively cull from your startup pitches.

It’s worth adding that conference teams themselves can sometimes be guilty of compounding problems. If you’re a conference organizer, these are my top three gripes as an attendee watching pitches or having been a founder having to pitch:

Bad MC. It continues to amaze me how poor so many hosts are at tech conferences and I find myself wondering why they were chosen. Despite “only” introducing each startup, the MC sets the whole tone of an event – they define the energy in the room. They should be able to connect with an audience, gain the audience respect and carry the audience with them if there are problems and keep things on time gracefully.

Being an MC is hard. I know, I’ve done it and I can always improve. So pick your MC carefully, ask them how they will prepare, ask them what’s important about being an MC, get recommendations and don’t consider it an afterthought – they will make or break the perception of your event.

Poor AV or presentation transition. You have plenty of time to test and practice rapidly changing pitch decks and to confirm that your sound system works. Don’t make a founder’s job even harder when they’re already wracked with nerves by fiddling around with PowerPoint/Keynote problems.

Poor acoustics. You’re presumably paying an AV company to run your sound system. If you’re in the pitch room and speech isn’t clear, it’s their job to fix it. Or, don’t pick a room with naturally awful acoustics for voice. Somewhere which is good for chamber music, may not necessarily be good for startup pitches.

Epilogue: The Audience

I’d like to end on a note to the audience at these events.

We Europeans are a hard crowd to please and there’s nothing worse than being an MC or a founder speaking to an audience of unengaged stones. So next time you’re asked to welcome someone on stage, give them a truly energized round of applause or hey, laugh at the MC’s joke even if it’s not going to win him an Emmy Award… Just a little bit of enthusiasm, even if feigned, goes a long way.


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11 Tips for Calming Your Nerves Before a Big Presentation

11 Tips for Calming Your Nerves Before a Big Presentation | Pitch it! | Scoop.it

At age 15, Darlene Price had to give her very first speech.

She was presenting an oral book report on “Great Expectations” to Mrs. Weaver’s tenth grade English class. She was nervous and could feel her hands shaking, heart racing, knees knocking, and palms sweating. As she reached the front of the room and turned to face her 33 classmates, she froze.

Moments passed, snickers erupted, and Mrs. Weaver asked 15-year-old Price to begin her presentation.

As soon as she made eye contact with the audience, all of the nervous tics disappeared — not because a wave of calm came over her, but rather because she fainted

To read the full article, click on the title or image.




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Via Daniel Watson
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Public speaking is challenging. Add to that the fact that your public may be a panel of investors. This article will help you prepare better.

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BrianBurnett's curator insight, June 25, 2014 11:35 AM

Preview of some of those tips:

  • 7P's = Proper Preparation & Practice Prevents Piss Poor Performance. (some call it 6 without the ... you know which)
  • Know Your Venue
  • Visualize Success
  • Know Your Audience 
  • Claim the three “audience truths.” One: They believe you’re the expert, so don’t tell them otherwise. Two: They want you to succeed, so they’re on your side. Three: They won’t know when you make a mistake, so don’t announce it
  • Realize you don’t look as nervous as you feel
  • Memorize your opening
  • Get psyched up before you go "on" - See Amy Cuddy  http://on.ted.com/Cuddy 
Miklos Szilagyi's curator insight, June 25, 2014 1:36 PM

It's always good to rehearse how to checklist the main elements for your really earned success on the podium...:-)))

Alain Theriault MBA's curator insight, June 25, 2014 1:40 PM

"Pitching" is an art that can make or break your young startup. Those 11 tips are great ways to make sure the messenger will deliver the message the right way. Now...look out for tips on making your message a clear one ;-)

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Figuring out your audience while on stage: ways to get clued in for success

Figuring out your audience while on stage: ways to get clued in for success | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
How to harness the power of your unconscious mind to read audiences.

For public speakers the body language news is both good and bad.

The good news is that you are already an unconscious expert, for the most part, in reading some of the body language cues and the concomitant underlying emotions of people familiar to you. For example, arriving home, you can tell in an instant if your significant other is in a bad mood, right? Or at work, you know instinctively if your boss is in a really good mood for some reason or another. Or you can tell when a colleague is stressed out and unlikely to help you with something.

Unfortunately, an audience is only somewhat familiar to you in that sense.  That is, you’ve done your research, you know who they are, but you don’t know them deeply like you do a loved one or a work colleague.  (Unless of course you’re talking to your work colleagues.)

So what can you use to decode an audience’s intent?

To read the full article, click on the title or image.



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Via Karen Dietz
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Pitching your proposal to investors is not exactly the easiest of presentations. Preparing what they want to hear, and then bringing that information with the right 'energy' is an art. Of course the main point is getting their interest, and all that happens in the first minute or two. This article may help to understand if you captured that interest. Are they with you?

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Karen Dietz's curator insight, May 9, 2014 12:20 PM

One of the greatest difficulties business storytellers have is reading their audiences to know how to respond/shape their stories in real time. It's not easy to tell a story and respond accurately to the audience at the same time.


The operative word is 'accurately'. Figuring out body language for accurate feedback takes practice. Not every set of crossed arms means someone doesn't like what you are sharing.


Finding articles that address this issue is rare indeed. So I was delighted to find this one. It gives solid tips for decoding your audience. And yes, it still takes time and practice :)


This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it 

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3 Things Everyone You Meet Should Know About Your Start-Up (Elevator pitch) - The Start-Up

3 Things Everyone You Meet Should Know About Your Start-Up (Elevator pitch) - The Start-Up | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
What questions should your elevator pitch answer and how should you go about it? Here are your answers.

Once you have completed a business plan for your new business, you feel an enormous sense of accomplishment. You will have learned more about your ideas, your target market, the risks involved, and your strategies than you could have possibly imagined you would know before you completed your plan.

Now that you’ve drafted this plan up in one form or another, you’re going to use it to guide you through your business development. This plan is now your ‘bible’. If you are not in a position to self-fund your new project, you’re going to also use this plan to raise money, and that means presenting your plan to investors. You need to become that master and omniscient creator of your new ‘bible’. You need to be a quick-witted expert on all things ‘new project’.

The fact is, regardless of whether you are seeking out venture capitalists, angel investors, or even raising funds from friends and family, these prospective investors aren’t going to read all 50 detail heavy pages of your plan. Hopefully they’ll read your executive summary, but in order to get to that point you need to excite and hook them. These questions will help you form your elevator pitch. Every time you meet a stranger at the coffee shop, in the elevator, at the gym, or pumping gas, you should be answering these three questions for them before they ask and before they even know that they care. Yes. Introduce your baby to everyone you meet, as often as possible, and with confidence. It is your job.

If you can easily and skillfully answer the following questions with the confidence of the omniscient creator of the ‘bible’ of (insert your project here), then you will be well on your way to leaving your prospective investors with seemingly no choice but to be a part of your team or a future customer/client. And they thought they were just running to get their morning coffee…

To read the full article, click on the image or title.


Is your Business Plan working? Is it Succeeding? http://bit.ly/1iHk8zP

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Telling someone about your business in a few words is a must. It can be learned. This article tells you how.

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Acing The Investor Presentation | CEO.com

Acing The Investor Presentation | CEO.com | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
Acing The Investor Presentation

Shark Tank venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary recently said, “It’s all about the money, all the time.” O’Leary is right. When you are asking for money from an angel, VC, PE or IPO institutional or individual investor the key message is about how the investor will eventually make money by supporting your company or idea.

On the other hand, you can’t walk into a pitch like Cuba Gooding in Jerry McGuire and shout, “Show (give) me the money.”

Pitching to investors is hard work and fraught with risk. It can make or break a company. The challenge for the actual presentation vs. a written pitch book or slide deck is when you are seeking capital you must prepare and rehearse for a variety of settings – the 10 minute pitch at a bake-off contest, the full 45 minute presentation with Q&A to an investment committee, the one-on-one when the investor just asks questions before you show a single slide.

While there are no foolproof secrets – and you need to be flexible to adapt to the presentation format – if you understand the Triangle of Persuasion, you will increase the odds of a favorable outcome. The Triangle of Persuasion forces you as the presenter to adapt your content within three variables – The Audience, The Stickiness of the Message and your own skills as a Presenter.

To read the full article, click on the image or title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The 'Triangle of Persuasion' is a great tool and explanation on how to make good presentations. Recommend reading in case you have to make a pitch, and don't we do that all the time?

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6 Questions Every Business Plan Should Answer

6 Questions Every Business Plan Should Answer | Pitch it! | Scoop.it
What investors, mentors and advisers look for in business plans.
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

www.Business-Funder-Insider.com provides information and articles to improve your business presentations.


Get your free Business Plan Template here: http://www.business-funding-insider.com/free-business-plan-template.html


or check our 'Growthink's Business Plan Template Review'
Can you write your business plan in 8 hrs or less? http://www.business-funding-insider.com/business-plan-template.html

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