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- Use body language and subtle movement to capture investors attention span and keep them engaged with your presentation.
- Practice diaphragmatic breathing before your pitch to reduce anxiety and deliver in a more confident manner.
Whether you’re new to presenting or a seasoned public speaker, these 6 simple speaking tips will help hone your skills and maximize your next startup presentation.
Strengthen eye contact with each investor
Have a conversation with your investors one-by-one. Make eye contact with each member of the panel and deliver a sentence directly to them. When finished, move on to the next person.
This will connect you with each investor as you move through your presentation. Making eye contact during conversation builds trusts, makes you more likable, and empathetic, compared to those with wandering eyes.
When you avoid eye contact, it can dictate that you lack confidence in your product or that you are holding back something. These negative connotations may be read wrongly by potential investors and can decrease the credibility of your pitch.
Stay mildly active
The human eye is exceptionally good at detecting movement. In fact, we historically use movement to detect threats and hunt prey in the wilderness.
When you’re presenting, you want to find a balance between moving too much and too little. Standing frozen with tense shoulders and fearful eyes will not hold an investors attention span for long, or help you deliver a great presentation at that.
Make lateral movements to minimize our inherited feeling of threat. Lean in toward your audience, but don’t lunge forward. Make gestures that support what you are saying and emphasize key actions when you discuss your product to make it more memorable.
Don’t accelerate or make any drastic movements. This will help get investors excited about your product and hold their attention span longer so you can get the message across.
Take a deep breath. And relax.
We understand the nerves and anxiety that surrounds an investor pitch. When your brain won’t tell your palms to stop sweating and you feel like you’re going to fail.
But here’s the best part: you are not doing to fail. So take a deep breath, and relax.
Tune in to soothing music on the way to your meeting. Practice diaphragmatic breathing exercises to reduce anxiety and boost your confidence. Going in with a clear and calm mind will allow you to deliver a frictionless and enjoyable presentation for your potential partners.
Use gestures to stress relevant points
Doing what comes naturally is the most common advice given from speaking coaches. However, according to presentation coach Vanessa Van Edwards, there are a few pre-planned descriptive gestures you can make that can help effectively communicate your message.
Some takeaways from her contribution to The Washington Post article on “What to do with your hands when speaking in public”:
- If you’re talking about a small thing, pinch your fingers.
- If it’s a big point, gesture your hands in the air
- Anytime you say a number below five, show that with your hand.
- Hold out one hand to describe benefits, and the other to describe downsides.
These practices help your audience keep track, remember, and believe the words we are saying.
Speaker slower than normal
When speech anxiety kicks in, your words tend to quicken as a result. This gives off the impression that you are nervous, lack self-control, or are insecure. To combat this, don’t be afraid to take a quick moment of silence to readjust.
This will help you read your investors notion about your presentation. And to speak in a deliberate manner shows confidence and gives the impression that you know what you are doing.
You have 20 minutes of presentation and 20 minutes of Q&A, don’t rush through it.
Give a verbal thank you to investors at close
Even if your last slide says “Thank You!”, verbalize it. Express gratitude toward the investors who took the time out to meet with you for your startup presentation. They will appreciate it.
The best speaking tip to improve your startup presentation is to simply let go. Let go of your fears, the idea of impending doom, and your pride.
Show up happy and enthusiastic to share your pitch. Connect with your investors through body language and bring some excitement to the stage. Give them something to get excited about.
You only have one shot at your investor presentation. Make it count by following these 6 simple tips.