By: Leah Jones
Events like Halton/Peel Demo Night present great opportunities to demonstrate your product to potential investors. However, investors can often receive dozens of pitches. Serial entrepreneur Michael Arrington claims individual demos get “lost in a sea of pitches that all begin to blur together.” In this heap of demonstrations, how can you ensure your presentation will be perceived as successful and memorable? Here are four tips for preparing your demonstration:
Find Your Story
Journalist Daniel Pink stresses the importance of storytelling, claiming persuasion “has become the ability also to fashion a compelling narrative.” Thanks to our ancestors’ reliance on oral, narrative-based teaching, we are hard-wired to remember a good story over a list of claims. A use-case narrative demonstrating how your product addresses a specific, real-life problem puts the issue on a human-scale, and will stick in the heads of potential investors.
Practice Your Product Display
You know your product better than anyone else, but this familiarity can be a drawback when it comes to demonstrating it to others. Practice using your product in a way that ensures investors can clearly see your product in action. Run through the demo in front of a mirror to confirm the product and its benefits are visible at all times.
Perfect Your Powerpoint
Powerpoint presentations are often a staple of the pitch, but in most cases they are used more like a teleprompter for the presenter rather than as a tool to enhance the demonstration. Use the program to illustrate statistics with graphs or provide engaging photos – not clipart – to compliment your use-case story. Check out Seth Godin’s investigation of the “Really Bad Powerpoint” for tips on how to use this tool effectively.
Get Some Third-Party Feedback
The best way to improve your demonstration is to get as much feedback as possible BEFORE the real thing. Practice in front of friends, family, coworkers and mentors, and stress the importance of brutal honesty.
For more tips on how to enhance your demonstration, look for the RIC Centre’s “Pitching to Investors” seminar to be held later this year, or contact us for access to sector-specific mentoring services.
Leah is completing her final year of the Visual Culture and Communications specialist program at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College. She is interning at the RIC centre, bringing her experience in digital, print and website design. Leah is eager to begin a career in corporate communications after her graduation in June.
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