‘Connect’ Before ‘Convince’
By Tracy Ho | THE STARTUP MOMENTUM in Hong Kong and Asia is ramping up. As more startup businesses flourish, more funding sources become available. Still, many budget-tight startups need to fight for the limited resources from angel investors and venture capitalists in order to obtain the funding for expansion, product R&D, etc.
From our recent observations at RISE-related events, demo nights and pitching events, many Founders go on stage without public-speaking experience, and do not enjoy speaking in front of strangers. In addition, some tech-startup Founders don’t have any communication or marketing experience.
So many brilliant ideas could be heard in startup pitches if one thing wasn’t missing – a genuine connection with the audience, primarily the investors. You may have heard about the ‘4Ps’ in marketing. These are our ‘4Ps’ for investor pitching:
Perception Comes First Research shows that it only takes 2 seconds for others to form an impression about us. By the time you present the first line, the investors have decided whether they would entrust their money to you. Some believe pitching begins when you walk to the stage. Actually, your game starts when the investors find your website, online profile, search engine results, etc. Self-checking question: Are you connecting with investors on multiple channels with a clear brand message?
Presence Needs To Be Present Executive presence refers to the ability to engage, align, inspire and move people to act. We’ve seen Founders going to pitch competitions or meetings, but we couldn’t feel their energy or see the fire in their eyes. Being humble is great, but you need a strong executive presence to win investors over. Self-checking question: Are you connecting by engaging with investors, showing your inspiration and motivating them to believe in you?
Pictorial Presentation Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Keep the pitch deck’s text-to-visual ratio to 40/60 or 30/70. Incorporate more graphics, photographs, icons, charts, infographics and videos. Self-checking question: Are you connecting by telling stories, leading investors to visualize your startup vision and mission?
Pace The Race Never lose track of time in a pitch. Pacing is essential. If you speak too fast, you sound rushed and hasty. Speaking too slow will make you lose your audience. We recommend speaking two words per second, 10 words per sentence and, no more than 10 sentences in a minute. Pause and breathe when you feel you are speeding up. Self-checking question: Are you providing investors ample time to understand your messages? Build your brand, own your stage. Be the ‘pitchmaker’ before you approach the target rainmaker.
About The Author Tracy Ho is a leading personal branding strategist in Asia and Founder of Frame & Fame, an award-winning branding consultancy in Hong Kong that helps entrepreneurs and business leaders be seen and heard developing compelling brand stories, portraits and identity assets. email@example.com