Presenting Yourself and Your Venture

2 04 2009

With the New Venture Championship fast approaching, many teams will be fine tuning their presentations. An effective and well-structured presentation can help a business venture appeal to judges, sponsors, and fellow participants.

Below are a few ideas and tips to keep in mind when fine-tuning your own presentation:

Tape Yourself
Taping a practice presentation of your team in action is a very simple way to note flaws. This can be done either with a video camera or an audio recorder. Be aware to watch for sections of your presentation that seem not to run smoothly. Sometimes asking others to watch is also helpful, as you know what you want to say and a fresh mind can notice different flaws.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Business competitions will often let participants examine the room that they will be pitching in prior to the presentation. Be sure to know the size of the room, where you will be standing, and how this will affect your presentation. This prevents you from being surprised, as you will be comfortable with your surroundings.

Don’t Memorize Your Speech
If you’re a part of a team accepted into a business plan competition, you’re expected to have your pitch down pat.

But don’t fall into the trap of memorizing it. Know your facts, know your story, know the logical flow of information, know the words you want to use but don’t memorize it. Give yourself some room for stage fright, unpredictable events, changing on the fly. The worst 10 seconds in any presentation is silence as someone struggles to find the next word in the memory link. Instead, knowing the ideas that you want to get across and letting the words flow is much more natural. Presenting your plan is crucial for the success of your presentation – act like its core to all you know. Last tip, write down the questions you think you will hear – but also write down the answers. Also write down the question you pray you will never be asked, you’re almost guaranteed it will be asked first. Make sure to have a great answer for that most difficult question.

Relax
Last, but not least, make sure to relax! Have fun! You have been working on this venture for months. Now, it is time to shine. Make sure to smile, make direct eye contact, and impress the judges! An effective speech is necessary as judges, and potential investors, will only be able to see you for a short amount of time.

Keep in mind these tips to improve your pitch before the judges even give their suggestions!