Investor presentations are a favorite topic of bloggers. Investment banking firms, consulting firms, venture capital firms, and just about any individual who has ever made or received an investor pitch has an opinion. Investor presentations can take place at investor conferences where the presenter pitches to a large audience, or in a board room setting where an entrepreneur might present to a committee or in a one-on-one situation across a desk.
This post is not a how-to tutorial. Rather, today we aim to help you align your expectations with some of the cold, hard realities that will happen during and after your presentation.
- An investor presentation is a terrific way to make a great first impression, build credibility, and establish trust. But don’t expect to walk away with a check in hand. Be satisfied with the great first impression.
- If you are presenting to an audience, you will lose half your audience’s attention within the first 5 minutes. That’s ok because 25% will listen for another 5 minutes, and most of the last 25% will actually be interested enough in what you have to say to stay with you all the way through. Keep it short. In an event setting, 10-12 minutes is plenty of time. Trust me, 15 minutes is getting long.
- One of the very best ways to lose your audience’s attention is to show them very fancy or detailed PowerPoint slides. Use simple slides to support your remarks and keep the audience’s attention on you.
- If you are presenting to a committee or in a one-on-one setting, I don’t care how good you are, you will be interrupted almost immediately. The order in which you have prepared the presentation can often become meaningless. While you want to respond to your audience’s questions, you also want to stay in control of the order of the information flow and be certain that you have been able to discuss each of the topics you had planned.
- You can expect that, in most instances, your audience will not be interested enough to invest, or never intended to invest to begin with. There can be a number of possible reasons for this, but you should assume that the reason for their lack of interest has nothing to do with you or your presentation. Sometimes, a potential investor will listen to your pitch because they want to learn more about the subject and came to you because you are an expert in the field.
- You should not expect that anything you say will be kept confidential, so you will want to be very careful about disclosing proprietary information. By the way, institutional investors will rarely sign non-disclosure agreements. That is because they don’t want to be held liable for talking about you or your deal. In fairness, they do not want to be liable if someone else talks about your deal either.
- When investors are interested in your opportunity, you don’t have to worry about chasing after them. They will follow up with you until a deal gets done or doesn’t get done. They know what they are looking for. They know what fits in their portfolio and why, and if you have what they want, they will aggressively pursue you.
Preparation and practice are essential. Start with friends and family. Use a video camera to identify quirky habits you might not be aware of. The more you can get in front of interested listeners, the better you will get at presenting. And the most important thing to remember is that your audience, whether it numbers one or 100, are very fortunate to have had the chance to learn about your investment opportunity.