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Leaving Presentations to Chance is Like Embarking on a Trip Without a Map

Wendy Torrance

Wendy TorranceLeaving presentations to chance is like embarking on a trip without a map (hat tip to Amanda Schnieders for the metaphor). If you don't know where you're headed and how you'll get there, you may not reach your destination.

How much would you fumble over your words if you were asked what it is your company does? How quickly and effectively can you convey the benefit of your product to the market? If you were giving a presentation tomorrow and the technology failed, would you be able to continue? Do you have a compelling story or metaphor that helps people to understand your company or your product? How confident do you feel about your ability to clearly and effectively communicate your company's objective to an audience of one or more?

We believe that the ability to present one's company in a way that captivates your audience is an essential skill that every entrepreneur must have. Your venture is too important to leave these communication tasks to chance. Your arsenal should include a compelling WOW statement, stories that convey the meaning of what you do, metaphors and analogies that help others understand what you do and/or why it is important, and a powerful and polished presentation that is free of common mistakes. Your product and your company will benefit from well-crafted and well-delivered messages that clearly portray their benefits, and from presentations that are flawlessly delivered.

Expert presentation and pitch coach Nathan Gold delivers just such lessons on Kauffman Founders School Nathan engages entrepreneurs in thinking about their value as a company, and provides vivid ways to talk about it. He identifies fatal mistakes that entrepreneurs make when presenting, and offers tips and strategies for avoiding them. Rehearsal, not practice, he says, helps to ensure that your presentations are audience ready, and that your message comes across as clearly as possible.

Consider the last really great presentation you saw, or find a video of a legendary presenter (Steve Jobs, Sir Ken Robinson, just to name a few). With Nathan's guidance you can begin to understand what it is that makes their presentations so compelling. What are the stories? How do they use visual elements? What can you hear in their voices? See in their movements? What about humor?

Explore our series on presentations. Find out how to make a great first impression. Learn how avoid the big mistakes people make in presentations. Hear from other founders about how they've managed these challenges. Develop an arsenal of stories and metaphors that make your company compelling. Finally, ask yourself the pivotal impact question: How can what I've learned today change what I do tomorrow?

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