How To Stop Worrying And Start Pitching

Ever wonder what to do in those first few seconds before your pitch starts?

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You’re introduced and the next thing you know, you’re standing in front of investors.  Some are smiling. Others are writing things down or texting.

Who do you look at first?  Where do you look?  If you look at someone, how long do you look them in the eyes before it gets weird? How will you know if they’re interested?  Do you just start talking or wait until they all look up or what?  It’s an unsettling experience.

You see so many faces with so many different expressions.  And there are so many variations of body language going on.

Then it happens… Your Body Language Frankenstein starts yapping in your ear.  He says things like:

“Hey, look at that man’s eyebrows. He despises you.”

“Oh no, that woman with her head tilted to the side and smiling with just one side of her mouth, just said something bad about you.”

“Oh man, that investor you met earlier?  His arms are crossed and his chin is resting in his hand!  He thinks you’re an idiot and a bore.”

Your Body Language Frankenstein is wrong.  About all of that.  Believe me, everyone there wants to see you do well.  That’s why the room has been turned over to you.  So, take control.

Do this: When you reach the front of the room, thank the person who introduced you by name.  Stand up straight.  While smiling, scan the entire audience for two or three seconds, looking as many people in the eyes as possible.

Look to the middle of the room.  Smile a little bigger and act like you recognize a person you know, but are surprised to see there. (Don’t worry, the person you’re looking at will think you’re looking at someone behind or in front of them.  It gives the audience the impression you know some of “them”.  Politicians pull that one all the time during campaigns. )

Put your hands together quickly, not quite fast enough to be a clap, while saying “Okay!”.  Pause for a full second.  Now say “Let’s get started!”  That’s a classic Steve Jobs move.

Right after that, say “I’m ___your name___, (point to the screen without looking at it) and this is ___your startup____.”  With your hand still pointing at the screen say your tag line/purpose statement.

Ahhhh… The hardest part is over.  The audience has gotten a good look at you, and they’ve just seen you be nice to someone they’re familiar with.

By saying “Let’s get started” you’ve issued a command that gives the impression to everyone in the room that you’re all doing something together, and the “something” is starting right now and they can relax, because you’re driving.

Remember, they want you to do well and it already looks like you are.

Most of all, relax, because you’ve gotten through those first few moments that are usually very awkward, and you did it like a pro.