I met with a friend today who is about to present his BIG IDEA to a very large investment bank. He askes for some advise as how he should approach this as this was the first time he was pitching the idea. Having being in his position, I offered the following advice:
1. Whats the worst that could happen ? – If you think about it, the worst thing that could happen, is that they say “No thanks” – that is it. It just means that you have to try again with a different organsiation.
In other words, there is nothing to loose and everythig to gain.
2. Be strong – dont come across as this is a nice new tool but its not finished, or not ready or “I have to still….”. Face the meeting head on, inform (not ask) the attendees for what you want and what you will deliver in return and what the terms are.
If you come across as weak, they will eat you alive. Would you want to hand over large amounts of cash to someone who seemingly can not hold a meeting and is not passionate about his product ?
3. Smoke and Mirrors – casually slip ino the conversation how long it has taken your team of developers with all the personal money you have put in and all the technology you had to import and all the expert advise you have be given over the years.
This subtelly tells the audience that they can’t simply copy the idea and develop it themselves.
4. Don’t know is ok – if you are faced with questions that you simply dont have the answer to, you are allowed to say that you dont know. Phrased nicely of course
“this is a good question that falls out of my department, I will get back to you on that one”
5. Take a Body Break – if you are not comfortable with the discussions or you feel like you are being put on the spot – simply ask the meeting to take a small break (“toilet break” always works at a long meeting). This gives you a chance to leave the room, wash your face, get a chance to think about the options and even make a call to someone who can help..
Deliver the presentation, answer any questions confidently and enjoy it !
Remember: Experience is a cruel teacher – she gives you the test first and the lesson afterwards. In onther words – you can only learn and improve.
Go Big !!!!