As a woman pitching investors who may primarily be men, how do I represent myself as powerful yet authentic?
Great question, and thanks for having the honesty and insight to ask this rarely spoken conundrum. Through doing pitches to investors, I have found that the winning formula is authenticity and competency. This means that you don’t change your demeanor or personality to suit what you think might be the audience’s predispositions. But, at the same time, you need to be aware of your own identity and feel confident about it.
Regardless of whether you are male or female, investors look for leadership skills and experience, as well as clarity of vision and competence in grasping the market and finer details of what you’re seeking investment for. If you’re a woman, be polished and professional with a clear, unwavering, and strong voice. Stand and deliver with straightforward confidence in your business, back straight, chin up, and good eye contact. Then, add the passion for your product, a communication skill that women often have. This is what can give you a definite edge — enthusiasm and verve. Go for it!
My main obstacle is a customer who is distracted by what I say. When speaking before a public audience, how do I capture and hold their attention?
We all must deal with this in a multi-channel society running at warp speed. When I speak, I sometimes get the feeling that members of the audience are thinking, “I could have been doing something else… now that I’ve decided to sit here and listen, I want the speaker to prove that I made the right choice to be here.” Your audience needs to feel that they will receive critical knowledge that is of value to them if they remain in their seats and listen. Everything today is about impact. Will your speech affect the listener? Will it provide them with something they could monetize?
Begin with something like this: “I’m going to share something with you today that is unique, and when I discovered it, it changed my view and opened my mind to a whole new industry. Here it is, in four points.”
It’s incumbent on the speaker to ask themselves, “What is the most valuable information I can impart, and is this what the audience is looking for?”