Public speaking for entrepreneurs? Absolutely! The reality is that a presentation, a pitch or “casual” conversations about your company all qualify as examples of public speaking. When I ask entrepreneurs about public speaking, I often hear “I don’t have to give speeches.”
There are 3 universal ideas every entrepreneur should remember while pitching their startup:
1) You are Presenting for Your Audience, not Yourself
It doesn’t matter if you’re presenting before a group of angel investors or on the floor of a private equity investor’s boardroom — your presentation is not about you, it’s about the people you are presenting to. Think about what matters to them, rather than what matters to you.
2) Focus Your Pitch
What are you trying to accomplish? What are you asking for? Gaining the interest/investment of equity groups? Looking for capital? Watch one of the myriad programs targeted at entrepreneurs (think Shark Tank) to get ideas of what focus does (or does not) look like. Far too many presentations have no focus, fail to answer the central questions, and receive an undesired response. Wonder why?
3) Reading Verbatim IS NOT Fundamental
There is one situation where reading is not fundamental, and that is when you are presenting. When you read verbatim, you show the audience that you display very little, if any, ownership of the words written. This makes connecting with the audience almost impossible.
Invest the time in practice and preparation. Even the best ideas fall flat if they cannot be communicated effectively.
It is understandable that you are nervous, have a lot of information to convey, and have written it down in order to ensure that you are able to introduce every concept you feel is necessary. But reading directly off of a script, or even worse, a PPT will not allow potential investors to see how passionate and confident you are about your company, your fund, or your idea.