I recently received this blog from futurist, Peter Diamandis, related to raising capital for start-up companies over Zoom. It’s a powerful message about how to use Zoom for our advantage.
Since just about everything translates into the insurance world for me, I immediately thought of all of us, everyone who intersects with the VANTREO world, and how Peter’s message can help each one of us stand out and achieve more over Zoom.
Please see below. I made a few edits to move the advice beyond a venture funding pitch to creating confidence every time we communicate via Zoom.
Trust me, this is well worth the read!
From: Peter Diamandis
Sent: Sunday, March 21, 2021
Billions of dollars of investment were closed over Zoom this past year.
Historically, fundraising used to require getting on a flight, wearing a suit, and many longggg road shows ... now, entrepreneurs are raising their seed, Series A, Series B, and billions in SPAC funding over Zoom from the comfort of their home office, bedroom or kitchen.
This blog is all about practical advice: the “Dos” and “Don’ts” of pitching yourself and your company over Zoom.
The goal is to help you avoid mistakes and up your ZOOM-PITCHING success.
For the blog, I connected with a number of friends in the VC world, and grouped their input with my own. If you’re interested, here’s who contributed: Teymour Boutros-Ghali & Neal Bhadkamkar (BOLD Capital Partners); Dakin Sloss (Prime Mover Lab); Scott Stanford (ACME Capital); Courtney Reum (M13); Will Weisman (KittyHawk Ventures); and Steve Jurvetson (Future Ventures).
Some of their advice is priceless!
Let’s dive in...
DON’T DO THIS…
When you’re pitching yourself and your company over Zoom, avoid these mistakes:
Poor Zoom Etiquette
- Showing up late: First things first: be on time. In fact, sign in a couple of minutes early. First impressions count.
- Being too casual: Don’t do the meeting in your pajamas or looking like you just got out of bed. You can always show more of your personality later.
- Awful background & lighting: Respect how others are seeing you on Zoom. Don’t be backlit, choose a reasonable background. As one VC put it, avoid communicating this attitude: “I am so busy that I will do a video call from my car with bad visuals and bad sound.”
- Not looking at the camera: Make sure you know where the camera is on your setup, and *look into the camera.* There’s nothing worse than having your line-of-sight way off.
- Leaving Zoom on “screen share” when you’re done with the slides: First, you should minimize the amount of PowerPoint you use, but importantly, when you’re not discussing the slides, and just having a conversation, take it off of screen share.
- Eating during your pitch: Do you really need to have lunch while Zoom meeting with a prospect, client, vendor, investor, team member or pretty much anyone else?
- Sending a private message to everyone: This is the Zoom equivalent of “replying all” unnecessarily in email.
Not Engaging Your Audience (and Team)
- Not “reading the room”: This is harder to do over Zoom, but it’s still important. The onus is on you to stop, ask if there are questions, and foster a discussion.
- Monologuing: The reality is that there’s a greater risk of people multitasking while they’re in a Zoom meeting. Don’t monologue. Pause, and make sure the audience is with you. Pause and ask if there are any questions.
- Not engaging your team: If you have members of your team join the Zoom, but you don’t give them an opportunity to present or participate, then why are they there? Show the VC (prospect, client, or anyone you want to build confidence with) that you’re a team player and engage your team.
HERE’S HOW TO IMPRESS PEOPLE ON ZOOM
Here’s how to actually impress the people you want to impress during your Zoom call:
Do the Pre-work
- Send materials before the meeting: Send any materials and an overview ahead of the meeting. But you shouldn’t assume that they have read through everything and absorbed it. Start the meeting by recapping and summarizing.
- Do your research: Take the time to research the people you’re meeting with: what are their interests, your common connections? Build early rapport.
- Give yourself enough time: If possible, schedule an hour-long meeting, but only use half of it to pitch. Reserve 50% for conversation and Q&A.
Make a Connection Instead of Giving a Lecture
- Connect first, pitch afterwards. Ask questions up front: Instead of diving into a pitch, explain who you are, and find out who they are. Ask a few questions early so that it’s a two-way conversation and not a lecture. Connect as people not as a transaction.
- Be conversational: The best Zoom pitches are engaging and conversational. You want to make sure that the investor understands you and your business and can feel your passion.
- Keep the energy high: This is part of keeping your audience engaged. If you’re not excited about what you’re building or what you do, why should they be? One way to do this is to consider standing during your presentation to generate energy/enthusiasm.
- Maintain eye contact: Talk directly to your audience, and not some unseen person off-screen. Look at the little bright light next to the camera on your laptop.
Run an Effective Meeting
- Engage your team: If your team members are also in the meeting, then each of them should have a role to play during the Zoom call. Your teamwork should show. A team that works well together in-person can also communicate that ability over Zoom.
- Have Sufficient time for Q&A: The most important part of your meeting is AFTER you finish the briefing. This is when the prospect (other party) gets to ask you questions and engage with you. Leave plenty of time so they can steer the conversation.
- Say thank you: Being polite is always good.
- Feedback & next steps: Make sure you ask for immediate feedback, and for the best next step.
Being an entrepreneur is all about being adaptable.
That includes how and where we tell the story of what we’re building. Given that so many deals (and so many important communications) are now being done over Zoom, know the best practices and use them.
Source: Peter Diamandis, www.Abundance360.com
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