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Presenting Your Business Pitch with Confidence

Not everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur. There’s a wide set of skills and traits you have to possess in order to become an effective business leader. Among those traits is self-confidence, a natural magnet that can draw people to you and make them want to listen to what you have to say. As such, it’s an invaluable skill during a business pitch.

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To entice potential investors, you need to appear and sound confident while pitching your idea. Investors are naturally drawn to leaders with high self-esteem because it signifies strength of character, another trait necessary to lead a business venture forward. As Larina Kase, a psychologist and author, said, “True confidence is not thinking that you’ll get a great result. It’s knowing that you can handle any result.” When the path towards success is dark and murky, confidence can carry a strong business leader through.

Self-Confidence: The Top Trait You Need for a Business Pitch

How to Boost Your Confidence for a Business Pitch

There are things you can do to pump up your spirits before facing investors and presenting them your business model. Here are seven of them:

1. Look and sound the part

The thing about confidence is that you don’t need to have it to look the part. You can carry yourself with poise even if you’re feeling intimidated or scared inside. There are a few things you can do to package yourself for success: dressing well, correcting your posture, minding the pacing of your speech, using precise language, and smiling. In other words, by making a conscious effort to look confident, you can make a good impression.

2. Exude conviction from every pore

To sell a business idea, you should be able to show investors how passionate and committed you are. They’ll try to gauge whether you really know what you’re doing, so make sure that you remain composed but enthusiastic throughout your business pitch. Make the investors believe in your potential to succeed. To achieve this effect, you have to communicate a certain aura that tells investors how confident you are about your product. This means avoiding uptalk and articulating a statement with a declarative—not an inquisitive—tone.

Self-Confidence: The Top Trait You Need for a Business Pitch

3. Know your key differentiator

To identify your business’s primary selling point, ask yourself what your edge is as opposed to competitors. Why should investors choose you over businesses similar to yours? You must have something unique to offer to make your business pitch stand out. Apart from this, you should also be able to explain what your worth is to investors. How can they benefit from your business? What gains can they expect, and when?

4. Find an external manifestation of success

Perhaps the best way to gain self-confidence is to find an external manifestation of your business’s capability to survive and succeed. It’s easier to sell a business idea if you have something tangible to back it up. An example of an external validation of success is a solid customer base that raves about your product. A sizable social media following that has positive things to say about your company is also a good proof that you’re breaking ground. Determining your niche is crucial during the first stages of business development because if you sell to the wrong customers, your business is bound to flop. On the other hand, with the right audience, you can improve your revenue and boost your credibility, which will ultimately attract investors towards your business.

5. Solve problems before they appear

Amateur entrepreneurs who only want to impress investors often make the mistake of acting like they’re immune to disasters. They’re hiding behind the assumption that their business model is so perfect, it can’t possibly be taken down by any future problem. As a general rule, before you present your business pitch to an investor, you should think through the possible challenges that you may encounter along the way. If possible, look for various solutions for each issue so that if one fails, you’ll have a backup to fall on. Set up contingency plans for when things don’t go as planned. By making sure that you’re prepared for the ugly as well as the good, you’ll be able to present yourself as a competent leader who can weather the storm when the worse comes to the worst.

Self-Confidence: The Top Trait You Need for a Business Pitch

6. Rehearse and refine your business pitch

Preparation is key to any speech. As with any other field, achieving a certain level of self-confidence takes time and an immense amount of effort. Research also plays a major role on how competent and confident you will appear in front of a panel. Make sure that your presentation has no loopholes and that everything goes as planned.

7. Worry less and just do your part

Fussing over the aspects of your business pitch that you can’t control will only stress you out. Instead of worrying over the negative aspects of your situation, just focus on the positive. Don’t zero in on your weaknesses as that will only distract and discourage you. Instead, strive to turn your weak spots around and let go of the things you can’t change. Optimism can go a long way in boosting your self-confidence, so try to appreciate the good parts as much as you can.

Above all else, smile even if you don’t feel like it. As Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at George Washington University, said, “Smiling not only makes your voice more pleasant to listen to; it also conveys confidence…. You will appear friendly, approachable, and composed.” That reason alone should be enough for you to flash a smile during a business pitch.

If you follow the aforementioned tips, you’ll be closer to improving your self-esteem. Just be patient and remember that confidence is built over time. With determination, you can stand in front of a panel of investors and present your business in the best light possible.

 

 

 

Resources:

Connick, Wendy. “How to Find Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).” The Balance. June 19, 2017. www.thebalance.com/how-to-find-your-unique-selling-proposition-usp-2917402

Landrum, Sarah. “10 Secrets to Sounding Confident.” Fast Company. July 20, 2015. www.fastcompany.com/3048748/10-secrets-to-sounding-confident

Lobb, Jennifer. “How to Pitch Your Business Like the Pros on Shark Tank.” Nav. December 28, 2016. www.nav.com/blog/how-to-pitch-your-business-like-the-shark-tank-pros-15102

Whitmore, Jacqueline. “9 Ways to Show More Confidence in Business.” Entrepreneur. September 30, 2014. www.entrepreneur.com/article/237634

“How to Give Investors Confidence in Your Business Idea.” Virgin Startup. n.d. www.virginstartup.org/how-to/how-give-investors-confidence-your-business-idea

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4 Types of Charts You Should Use for Business Presentations

Using charts is tricky for business presentations. More often than not, they tend to overload your slides with numbers and distract your audience from your main findings.

Similar to using spreadsheets, these are tools used to analyze data before presenting them. However, charts have one advantage over spreadsheets: They can visually compare and show relationships between numbers and information, making them more understandable for the audience. This also lets you hold their interest long enough to get your point across.

If you absolutely need to use charts, these are the four basic types that can help simplify an otherwise long and boring topic.

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1. The Organizational Chart

Business Presentations: Organizational Chart

This chart is used to explain relationships between members of a group.

Here, information is displayed in a top-to-bottom format, with the executive or manager at the top. The chart branches out to show direct and indirect relationships between staff, managers, and executives.

This gives everyone a clear picture of who reports to whom and who is responsible for what.

While the organizational chart explains structures, it doesn’t show how a company operates. You can use flowcharts to explain how your company does business with others. You can also use these to talk about any other type of business procedure.

2. The Flowchart

Business Presentations: Flow Chart

The flowchart is more linear, sometimes circular, in nature.

It’s best for explaining processes, especially during business presentations. The flowchart builds a clear picture of where something begins, what happens in between, and where it ends.

When using this chart, start with the first step. When an order comes in, what step follows next? Is there a step where the request is evaluated? Arrange them sequentially, and add if-and-then statements if something goes wrong with that step.

The more complicated a process is, the harder it is to illustrate with a flowchart. Stick to the basics and keep your illustration simple to avoid confusing your audience with too many numbers.

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3. The Line Graph

Business Presentations: Line Graph

One of the simplest to create and the easiest to understand, line graphs show progressions and can also forecast results.

If you were to track, for example, the increase and decrease of your company’s earnings per year, simply plot the period of time you need to measure on the horizontal X-axis. The vertical Y-axis will be used to measure the amount gained or lost.

After plotting the data, simply connect the points with a line to show their progression. You can even use it to compare similar types of data by using different colored lines.

Line graphs are great at comparing progressions, but if you want to accurately show increases and decreases in value, bar graphs are perfect for the job.

4. The Bar Graph

Business Presentations: Bar Graph

While they can also show comparisons over time like line graphs, bar graphs are used for measuring larger changes.

The two main variants for bar graphs are horizontal and vertical graphs. Both rely on rectangles to show how much one thing is worth against another. For example, if you were to measure the net worth of similar companies with a vertical bar graph, you could arrange the company names in the horizontal X-axis, and set the values in the vertical Y-axis. The higher the rectangle displayed, the more valuable the company is. For horizontal graphs, these are more appropriate for data with longer labels. The usage is the same with a vertical graph, except that the X and Y axes are reversed.

Which Chart Should You Use?

4 Types of Charts

Instead of you simply talking about information with a slide full of text, these charts can conveniently illustrate your data.

It can be about procedures, your organizational structure, or even the progressions and comparisons between information.

While these four graphs can illustrate and compare several things at once, they can overload your slides if they contain too much information. Keep only the most essential processes and state only the most important individuals in any organizational structure.

It’s best to limit your comparisons to at least three things to make your presentation easier to understand.

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References:

“Types of Graphs – Bar Graphs.” Types of Graphs. n.d. www.typesofgraphs.com/bar.html
“Types of Graphs – FlowCharts.” Types of Graphs. n.d. www.typesofgraphs.com/flow.html
“Types of Graphs – Line Graphs.” Types of Graphs. n.d. www.typesofgraphs.com/line.html
“Types of Graphs – Organizational Chart.” Types of Graphs. n.d. www.typesofgraphs.com/organizational.html

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Staying Relevant: The Questions You Need to Ask before a Presentation

Why should I care? Everyone asks this question before making a decision.

Why should I get myself a new phone?”
Why should I care about this new car fuel?”
Why should I buy a $3 custom hand-crafted coffee instead of an instant mix?”

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According to author Jim Aitchison, these questions are all based on standards that people have built over the course of their lives.

If something they see meets these standards, it becomes relevant to them. This also applies to clients during business presentations: They need to know why they should care about your topic.

As presenters, it falls on you to make your pitch relevant. Relevance allows you to establish why the topic must matter to the people hearing it. If your topic offers no clear benefits or implications, you won’t establish a strong connection with your audience. Without that connection, it becomes harder for the audience to spend time listening to your pitch and buy your idea. Get an idea of your client’s standards to find out how you can

Get an idea of your client’s standards to find out how you can relate to them.

People Want Benefits

Your audience spends time and money to hear you out. Give them something interesting in return. Brand communication expert Carmine Gallo suggests explaining what your pitch means for them will immediately make your topic and presentation more relevant.

They Need To Connect the Dots

Now that you’ve presented what your topic is, tell the audience what they get out of it. Give a concise and exact description of what your idea does (Sullivan, 2008). Visual demonstrations can do more for you than verbal explanations can.

Will your new computer parts allow people to work faster? Will your new earning figures translate to tangible and enjoyable gains for the company? Answering these questions can tell interested parties why they should approve your proposal. Everything relies on your ability to connect the dots and establish how your topics affect the people you present it to.

They Want to Have Fun

When Steve Jobs presented the iPod Nano in 2005, he asked the audience what that smaller right-hand pocket inside your pants was for. Once that left the audience guessing, he pulled the device out of that pocket.

Jobs brought up a seemingly overlooked part of everyday fashion by making it useful and relevant. He presented a simple fun fact about his company’s new device instead of merely describing it verbally for a more memorable performance.

Your clients are ultimately the ones that will either approve or reject your pitch. Getting that approval and investment is the bread and butter of any salesperson.

Presenters must make an effort to make their topics relevant whenever possible. Find out which standards your clients use when making their decisions. Then, fine tune your business presentation’s content.

Convince your clients that their hard-earned money will be well invested and have tangible benefits for everyone involved.

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References

Adding Visuals to Your Technology PowerPoint.” SlideGenius, Inc. Accessed May 25, 2015.
Aitchison, J. (2004). Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print For Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore: Prentice Hall.
Gallo, C. (2010). The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. McGraw-Hill.
The Question to Answer for Effective Business Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. May 25, 2015. Accessed May 25, 2015.