How to Prepare for Investor Pitch Competitions and Win

How to Prepare for Investor Pitch Competitions and Win

Investor pitch competitions can be a great way to be seen by potential investors, build your network and, if everything aligns well, win some prize money for your startup.

Last night the winner of the Women Founders Network 2017 Fast Pitch competition was Sashee Chandran, the founder of Tea Drops. I was ecstatic because I was her pitch coach. As a coach and trainer, there’s nothing more gratifying than when you see the people you work with do what it takes to excel and reap the rewards of their hard work.

Tea Drops makes a great product that hits on many levels – it’s delicious, healthy, organic, fair trade, made in the USA, convenient, and visually appealing. Clearly, Sashee was off to a great start before she began pitching investors.

The other CEOs who pitched their companies last night were also impressive. Quite often, even the people who don’t win pitch competitions, but pitch very well and have a great business concept, receive funding from investors who saw them pitch. If you’re planning to enter a pitch competition, assume the other pitchers will be great and prepare thoroughly so that no matter what you will have no regrets.

Here are some tips to ace investor pitch competitions. There’s more involved in the process, and success comes from how you complete each step, but this will provide a roadmap to get you started. These are the steps I took Sashee through to help prepare her for the competition.

Refine and streamline your pitch deck.

Be sure your deck answers the major questions that will be in the minds of your audience in your presentation. Address the problem, solution, market size, potential, competition, financials, marketing plan, team, and how you use the funding.

Have your pitch deck reviewed by someone outside your company.

This is always where I begin when people come to me for pitch coaching. When you’re too close to something, it’s hard to see it clearly. Having your pitch deck reviewed by someone who has looked at hundreds or thousands of them with a professional eye will help you to see where the holes are and what needs streamlining.

Refine your deck again.

Although it may be tempting to try to slide by with your current deck, take the time to make the necessary changes that you were advised to make. (This is one of the first things I admired about Sashee when we first began working together. She listened to my feedback and immediately went to work on refining her deck after I reviewed it.)

Rehearse delivering your pitch until it is IN you, and continue elevating your delivery.

Most people underestimate how many times they should rehearse a pitch or presentation. My recommendation is to rehearse it as many times as it takes for you to run through it without wondering what comes next. When you can deliver your pitch as if you are fluidly telling a story that you know inside and out, your mind won’t be focused on trying to remember: you will be more fully present in the moment and able to share your passion.

Get feedback on your delivery.

You might video yourself and watch your video to try to improve your performance, but having a trusted advisor give you feedback on your body language, word usage and other elements of your communication will be even more helpful.

When I prepare clients for investor pitches or pitch competitions, I provide feedback and recommendations on all aspects of their delivery so they show up exuding confidence, authority and warmth (a very winning combination).

Prepare for the Q&A.

In most pitch competitions, after you have delivered your pitch there is a brief question-and-answer session. Prepare responses to every typical question and tough question you might be asked, and rehearse delivering them. Savvy investors will want to know that you’re able to objectively see any potential roadblocks and have plans to work around them.

Take good care of yourself and block out several hours prior to the pitch competition.

Be sure to leave time to clear your head and relax before the pitch competition. Try to avoid dealing with draining tasks that can be dealt with another day. Conserve your energy so you show up centered, joyful and confident.

Take the stage and shine!

From the moment you’re in view, you’re being watched. Walk on stage (or to the front of the room) with confidence and positivity. Take a beat to center yourself and then begin.

If you’ve done the work, the very least you will do is your very best.

 

If you want help preparing for investor pitches, a pitch competition, or other presentations, click here to arrange a complimentary consultation with me.

Lisa Elia, Media Trainer, Presentation Trainer, Pitch Coach, Blog AuthorThis post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach and communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY Show, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To receive articles like this directly in your inbox click here.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

Top 10 Communication Tips

Top 10 Communication Tips

There is so much that can be said about improving one’s communication skills that we could be reading (or writing) forever. Sometimes you simply want a list of reminders. This is such a list. It’s taken from my Confident and Clear Communication program, which goes into greater depth on each topic with exercises and questions to help you explore your unique communication patterns and tips to improve upon the aspects of your communication you wish to elevate.

1. Eliminate negative self-talk.

Negative self-talk comes in many forms, including putting yourself down, diminishing your accomplishments, not accepting compliments, or beginning sentences with, “I’m just a…”. It is not productive, it is disempowering, and it reinforces beliefs you don’t want to hold about yourself.

2. Pay attention to your posture.

Changing your posture can instantly change how you feel and how you are perceived by others.

3. Replace criticism with compassion.

Criticism of others begins with a negative judgment you are making about them. Love and judgement can’t exist in the same moment. If you want loving relationships in your life, whether at home or work, transform critical comments into more productive communication.

4. Be assertive, not aggressive or passive: identify the differences.

Assertive communication is respectful, diplomatic, empowered and effective.

5. Read body language more closely.

Pay close attention to your body language and that of others, to achieve the most effective communication. Our true feelings and thoughts are conveyed through eye contact, the placement and movement of the feet, hands, hips, legs, and more.

6. Polish your writing skills.

Sometimes your written words create the first impression someone will have of you, and they could open doors for you, or close them forever.

7. Speak with power.

Make the choice to speak with power and confidence, paying attention to your vocal tone, fluidity and energy level.

8. Replace lazy listening with committing to the moment.

Becoming a great listener will improve relationships and can lead you to great success.

9. Transform arguments and address delicate topics sensitively.

Discover what’s beneath the argument so you can transform it into a productive conversation, and broach delicate situations with forethought and sensitivity.

10. Communicate to inspire, empower and motivate people.

Approach interactions thinking about what you can leave people with and how you can inspire, empower and motivate them.

If you would like to improve your communication skills or those of your team or clients, arrange a complimentary consultation with Lisa Elia.

Lisa Elia, Media Trainer, Presentation Trainer, Pitch Coach, Blog AuthorThis post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach and communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY Show, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To receive articles like this directly in your inbox click here.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.


Here are links to a few other articles you might enjoy:

Body Language in Interviews and Meetings – Nonverbal Communication

https://expertmediatraining.com/body-language-in-interviews-and-meetings/

How To Prepare for Presentations – 6 Tips for Effective Presentations

https://expertmediatraining.com/how-to-prepare-for-presentations/

Prepare for Media Interviews BEFORE You Book One

https://expertmediatraining.com/prepare-for-tv-interviews-media-trainer-tips/

Frequently Asked Questions about Media Training

https://expertmediatraining.com/faqs-about-media-training/


What Do People Need to Hear from You?

What Do People Need to Hear from You?

At times like this, when it seems the world is under attack by hate groups, more hate is not what’s needed. If you think of the people in your sphere of influence and what they need you’ll be better able to serve them. Do they need consoling, do they need hope, do they need ideas on how they can be part of the solution and not simply add to hateful rhetoric?

Once you know what people need, you’ll be better able to communicate in a way that can make a difference in people’s lives.

Passion Is Not Enough – Messaging

Passion Is Not Enough – Messaging

When delivering a speech, presentation or media interview, speaking from the heart is important, but your message must also make sense logically. There are times when a very passionate speaker can draw people in by affecting the audience emotionally, but if upon further reflection the argument or position presented by the speaker doesn’t hold up intellectually, the message loses its potency and the credibility of the speaker is called into question.

The best messages resonate with the heart and the head.

 

 

Creating Strong Relationships with the Media

Creating Strong Relationships with the Media

Preparing yourself or your team for media interviews includes understanding how to create and maintain good relationships with members of the media. Over the years, I’ve interviewed members of the media from outlets that include The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Clear Channel Radio and many others. Here are some tips based on what they shared.

Let relationships develop over time.
Like friendships, some of your media relationships will be closer than others, and they develop over time. In their excitement over getting a live editor or producer on the phone or meeting one in person, some people will overestimate the relationship and assume that now they’re friends, buddies…amigos. If this sound like you, take a step back. Think of one of your close friends. When you met this person, did you glom onto him or her the first time you spoke or did you chat for a bit, establish common ground and let the relationship grow from there? Allow members of the media to get accustomed to you and to want to hear from you.

Don’t be intimidated, but know who owns the ball.
It’s easy to feel intimidated by someone who writes for the Wall Street Journal or who is responsible for booking interviews for Bloomberg Businessweek or Good Morning America, if you’re not used to speaking with people in these types of jobs. It’s important to remember reporters and TV and radio bookers need experts and people to interview you as much as you need them to share your message. However, keep in mind that if you were children playing in a schoolyard, you are playing with their ball: they make the rules. You can choose to follow the rules, or negotiate to alter them, or walk away.

Be responsive.
Return calls from the media promptly and provide information they have requested quickly. Many people miss fantastic opportunities for top-level TV, radio and print interviews because they don’t respond quickly enough. Even if you don’t feel ready for an interview when a media opportunity arises, return the call and either negotiate a different time to do it or politely and graciously decline.

Be easy to work with.
Be kind, respect their time, never be pushy, and appreciate that they have opinions and may or may not like what you have to offer. Help members of the media when you can with additional information or resources and be a pleasure to work with. Sounds like life, doesn’t it?

Read more media relations tips at https://expertmediatraining.com/media-training-tips-for-good-media-relations/

Lisa Elia, Media Trainer, Presentation Trainer, Pitch Coach, Blog AuthorThis post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach and communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY Show, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To receive articles like this directly in your inbox click here.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

6 Tips to Make Effective Presentations

6 Tips to Make Effective Presentations

If you will be making important investor presentations, sales presentations and/or public speeches, and you want to come across powerfully, effectively and naturally, you must know how to prepare for presentations.

Here are a few of my presentation tips:

1. Always think about what’s in it for them (WIIFT), no matter whom you are addressing.

2. Avoid oversharing. Think about what people really need to know about you or your company.

3. Remember the five Cs. When you are making a presentation, whether you are trying to raise money, make a sale or you are in a media interview, the five Cs are important:

• Credible: People want to be sure you know what you are talking about and that you have the credentials to present the information you are delivering.

• Confident: People want to see someone who is confident. They will trust you more if you appear confident in everything that you do.

• Clear: Explain everything as clearly as you can and be…

• Concise: Be as succinct as you can.

• Compelling: No one wants to be bored.

4. Imagine how the most successful, qualified person in your field would present the information you are about to present, and model yourself after the image you create.

5. Anticipate peoples’ needs and include the answers to their potential objections or questions in your presentation.

6. Prepare and rehearse answers to tough questions and commonly asked questions so that nothing can throw you off during your presentation.

Lisa Elia, Media Trainer, Presentation Trainer, Pitch Coach, Blog AuthorThis post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach and communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY Show, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To receive articles like this directly in your inbox click here.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

Giving Back – My High School Visit via Youth Business Alliance

Giving Back – My High School Visit via Youth Business Alliance

Last week I went back to high school — not my high school, but a high school. I visited Ánimo Leadership Charter High School, where I made a presentation about my work and career path to become a media trainer and presentation trainer. This was all done through Youth Business Alliance (YBA), an organization that connects people in the business world with local schools to expose students to a variety of careers and advice they might not have access to otherwise.

I was impressed with the depth of the students’ questions and their willingness to participate in the practice college interviews I conducted to give them a feel for the work I do as a trainer. Of the two students who volunteered for the practice interviews, one wants to study aeronautical engineering and the other wants to pursue criminal justice because she’s passionate about protecting individual’s rights when dealing with the judicial system. Encouraging and guiding students like this was a true pleasure.

Giving back to the community in various ways has always been important to me, especially when it comes to education. The YBA makes it easy to get involved as much or as little as your schedule and resources allow. If you’re interested in speaking or getting involved with Youth Business Alliance in other ways, visit https://www.youthbizalliance.com/speakers

Appearance on E! Entertainment – Training the Bella Twins’ Family

Appearance on E! Entertainment – Training the Bella Twins’ Family

Several months ago, I was hired to provide media training for the family of the Bella Twins, stars of the E! Entertainment TV show, “Total Divas”. While the twins, Brie and Nikki, are accustomed to being in the spotlight, their mother Kathy and brother JJ were less so. As I prepared them for their inaugural trip down a red carpet, which was to be at the ESPY Awards, I made sure to ask them the many prying questions that members of the media might ask about the Brie and Nikki, among other things.

Part of our training session was included in last night’s episode of Total Divas. As with most TV interviews, you have no control over what finally airs. The link below is to a very small portion of the training session. As you can see, JJ’s responses to my questions were entertaining, but if he used them in an actual media interview, he could have led the conversation down an unintended path. Fortunately, he listened and made adjustments, as the best clients do.

One of the things I love about my work is the diversity of clients I get to work with; corporate clients one day, and athletes and their family the next.

Lisa Elia, Media Trainer, Presentation Trainer, Pitch Coach, Blog AuthorThis post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach and communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY Show, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To receive articles like this directly in your inbox click here.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

Expert Media Training™ Blog Among Top-Ranking Public Speaking Blogs

Expert Media Training™ Blog Among Top-Ranking Public Speaking Blogs

I am honored that my blog has been named one of the top 50 public speaking blogs by Feedspot. Of the thousands of public speaking blogs, Feedspot ranked ours as number 30. I am grateful to be in good company among my respected peers.

“These blogs are ranked based on following criteria:

  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review”

To read more of the blogs on Feedspot’s site, click here.

I strive to provide content that is relevant to my readers. I welcome requests to cover specific topics within the arenas of public speaking, presentations, media interviews and investor pitching.

Please email topic requests to my team and me at team@expertmediatraining.com.

Lisa Elia, Founder of Expert Media Training™

 

Lisa Elia, Media Trainer, Presentation Trainer, Pitch Coach, Blog AuthorThis post was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, pitch coach and communication expert and speaker. She trains clients for media interviews, speeches, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with TODAY Show, GMA, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Entertainment Tonight, E! and many others.

To receive articles like this directly in your inbox click here.

To discuss your training needs, contact the Expert Media Training office at 310-479-0217.

Crisis Communication Tips

Crisis Communication Tips

The following crisis communication tips are meant to provide you with your initial steps. If you need help managing a crisis, call us immediately at 310-479-0217.

Quite often, the clients who call us for help managing their crisis communications and preparing their executives or clients to face the media are doing so because they have not planned for crises, which everyone who is in business should do.

If you’re a service provider, crises can arise from several situations, including being discredited publicly, a verbal misunderstanding or use of a poor choice of words. If you produce a product, crises can arise from a fault in your product, problems with distribution or questionable manufacturing procedures, among other things. These things can happen to individuals or companies of any size, from one-person shops to the largest corporations in the world.

For celebrities, athletes and other public figures, how a crisis is managed can make the difference between preserving or losing lucrative endorsement deals and prospects.

Quick crisis communication tips to get you started:

Crisis communication tip #1: Don’t hide.

If a situation that reflects negatively on you, your client or your company has become public knowledge and the media are contacting you for a comment, here are some steps to follow:

Do not answer their questions on the spot, but do take their calls and tell them you will get back to them within a certain timeframe, whether it’s minutes or hours, but try to do it quickly enough for them to meet their respective story deadlines. Stall tactics rarely work. If the media print or broadcast that you did not respond to their requests for information, the public may assume you’re guilty or that you have something to hide, which is not what you want.

Get help creating a statement and answers to the questions you may be asked by the press. In the heat of the moment, you may not think as clearly as usual. Enlisting the aid of experts who are objective and forward-thinking can help you to contain and manage the situation most effectively.

Crisis communication tip #2: Control contact with media and the public.

Don’t allow your staff members or team members to speak with the press about the situation. Ask that your family members and friends do not do so either.

Ideally, employees, vendors and others should have been advised not to speak to the media on your behalf. Perhaps they have even signed confidentiality agreements, as does everyone who works in our firm. However, it’s good to remind them of your policies.

Crisis communication tip #3: Take responsibility when appropriate.

There are times when it’s best to assume responsibility and quickly address what you are doing to rectify a situation. For example, if you sold a product that turns out to be faulty, consult a lawyer about what you should and should not say about it, but do address it. You can recall the product through news alerts that you send to the media and distribute through social media, if many have been sold. If only a few products have been sold, you can contact the customers directly and offer them a refund or a replacement of the product.

The worst thing you can do is ignore the situation, which can lead people to hire lawyers, investigate further and generally make a bigger deal of something that could have been kept in check with some simple communication.

Crisis communication tip #4: Listen.

Sometimes the best way to prevent a situation from becoming a crisis is to listen. Listen to people’s complaints and comments, even if there is nothing that can be done about them.

For example, if you have said something regrettable to someone who is now making a public issue of it, apologize to the person directly, which may make the situation go away: sometimes people just need to be heard.

If the issue continues to become more public, seek professional help to address the situation. This is not a time to wing it, and professionals can help you create a clear message and make a plan for damage control and containment.

Crisis communication tip #5: Take action.

Explain how you are taking action to address the situation. For example, if one of your staff members has said something inappropriate to someone, craft a specific response that explains why this is not in accordance with your company policy and how the employee is being reprimanded (or dismissed, in some cases). If you have implemented new policies due to this situation, explain what they are.

When crises arise, the most important thing to do is to not panic. Then, get the help you need to create a swift and thorough crisis communication plan.


Lisa Elia, Media Trainer, Presentation Trainer and Founder of Expert Media Training™This article was written by Lisa Elia, a Los Angeles-based media trainer, presentation trainer, communication expert and speaker. In addition to helping clients with crisis communication management and planning, she trains clients for media interviews, speeches, investor presentations and promotional videos. With more than 20 years of experience, Lisa has prepared clients for interviews with The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, ESPN, and hundreds of other outlets. Lisa has been interviewed and shared her expertise with national media outlets that include Inc., Fox News, Entertainment Tonight, E! Entertainment and many others.

To arrange a complimentary consultation, call us at 310-479-0217.

Or, you can email us at team@expertmediatraining.com


 

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