Body Language And The Investor’s Brain

When people ask me what they can do to keep from looking like a liar, I always say “Tell the truth.”  When pitching, investors don’t know what to look for to make sure you’re being honest.  It’s a gut feeling they get that tells them not to trust you.

It doesn’t mean you’re lying because they see body language signals that show you’re uncomfortable.  It simply means you’re uncomfortable.  That’s all.

They may not even know what they’re looking at.  But when their brains begin trying to decode what those odd movements and sounds you’re making mean, it puts their limbic systems into a low alert that tells them “Hey, pay attention to this… I don’t what it is… but something isn’t right here”.

What are these movements and sounds you might be making?  There are quite a few actually.

You may be swallowing… at the wrong time.  Typically, a person being dishonest will swallow hard after they make the dishonest statement.  But the investors don’t know that.  They just see you swallowing too much.

Maybe you’re clearing your throat too much.  Some presentation coaches advise to clear your throat when you need extra time to think.  When pitching, you’re gonna want some time to think here and there.  Clearing your throat too much certainly isn’t considered normal behavior.

Everyone is on the lookout for the “Fast Talker.”  You could be a Saint and pitch the investors nothing but the truth… however, their brains are locked in limbic mode because you’re asking for their money.

You’re brain definitely won’t be in a relaxed cognitive mode.  It will be in limbic mode like the investors.  At an even higher alert level.  So if you don’t pay attention, you’ll begin talking fast and you’ll sound like a used car salesman.  Nobody trusts that guy.

Great doctors have great bedside manner.  They tell you things that are sometimes tough to hear.  However, they reassure you, pat you gently on the hand, show true interest in how you feel, and they care about keeping you healthy.

You must have something similar.  I call it “Screen-side Manner”.   You must look confident because you’re in charge.  You must reassure the investors their money will be just fine, and that it’s okay to believe in you.  The only way you can pull this one off, is to be you.  The relaxed, in charge, you.

If you are, they will see your honesty.  They will see you don’t back up a little as you begin talking about your financials.  They will see that small, partial smile on your face as you begin to talk about your status, timeline, and future earnings.  They won’t hear you clearing your throat or saying “uh”.  Because you won’t be.

They’ll ease back into a more relaxed cognitive mode with you.  They will be able to listen and “hear” what you’re saying.  They will want to like you because they will see your passion for what you’re pitching.  That is the key here.  By being yourself and being honest, the investors will see you as a good person, a great leader, a powerful CEO, and hopefully, if you’re pitch is as it should be, a solid financial investment.