Like the lead singer in a band, the pitch presenter sets the tone for the company. Choosing the person to present your company to investors is challenging for many companies because the person you may automatically assume should present — the founder or a key partner who’s helped the founder realize the company’s potential, for example — may not be the best choice.
Say that your company consists of a founder whose technology is the basis for the whole product line and that this founder eats, sleeps, and lives this company.
His dedication makes him the perfect presenter, right? Not so fast. If he has trouble communicating with an audience — has difficulty speaking in front of large groups, for example, or struggles to convey ideas in layman’s terms — then the founder may not be the right person to pitch the company.
Following are the traits that an ideal pitch presenter has; look for these in yourself or in whomever you choose:
Well-spoken: Some people are better at speaking in front of an audience than others. Good public speakers choose their words in the moment to suit the mood of the room, and they use powerful communication tools like the pregnant pause (in which you use pacing and silence to build interest or suspense) and matching voice inflections with hand gestures.
Do a little role-playing to see who in your team has the best public speaking style.
Charismatic: Charismatic people possess a quality that draws others to them and inspires interest or devotion in their activities or causes. Charismatic people are rare, and they can be rather powerful because of the devotion they inspire. If you have a charismatic person on your team, you may want to consider having that person pitch, even if he isn’t at the top of the company’s organizational chart.
The right age: The “right” age is different for each company. A company may seem more innovative if a young person gives the pitch. Similarly, a company may seem more capable of accomplishing difficult tasks when a mature leader delivers the pitch. The key is to ensure that the person pitching embodies the company’s personality, whether it’s innovative, mature, cutting-edge, or anything else.
Obviously, you can’t change your age, but you can try to embody the qualities of the age group most appropriate to lead your pitch. Use your clothing, hairstyle, word choice, and your pitch deck to portray the age you want. Be careful not to overdo it, though. Subtlety goes a long way.
Able to take feedback: Pitching is a difficult task that requires a lot of trial and error, and a key way to hone a pitch is to rehearse it in front of many people who can give feedback. Criticism, even when constructive, can be hard to hear and even harder to act upon.
A great pitch presenter takes all the feedback, determines which parts are important, and creates an improved pitch after each rehearsal.
If you are not a natural-born public speaker, you can still play the role when you pitch. The trick is to practice. Doing so helps you develop many of the preceding traits.