Pitch Perfectly: Crucial Public Speaking Tips for Startup Founders

importance of public speaking for startup founders

For any entrepreneur, public speaking is an inescapable challenge; and when you’re starting a business from scratch, this aspect forms the very foundation of determining its success.

That being said, by keeping certain pointers in mind and making use of every opportunity to practice these, you will be able to get the hang of public speaking, to help grow your business.

Public speaking provides an entrepreneur with the opportunity to effectively communicate and engage with prospective clients, customers, and investors. It helps build credibility, establishes trust, and will drive people towards your startup.

An Entrepreneur & Public Speaking: Tips & Tricks

1. Start UP: A Strong Opening

A great determinant of a great speech is its opening. This is where the speaker establishes a strong connection and impression on the audience. It establishes the purpose of your speech and gives your audience direction.

As an entrepreneur, you have a very limited time frame to make a lasting impression. This dilemma can be aided by a strong opening–something that can be remembered during/ after your speech; a joke, limerick, or a powerful quote.

When you look at your audience, attention is at its peak in the beginning, thus making it a crucial aspect of your speech.

Hence, starting with a simple “Good Morning” won’t suffice. Think out of the box. We’ve written an in-depth article along with examples for how you can open your speech with impact. Check it out for some inspiration!

Structuring aside, what also matters is its delivery. The way you introduce yourself and your topic definitely impacts your listeners. Keep scrolling to learn more about tonality and voice modulation.

2. Know Your Audience

knowing your audience is very important for an entrepreneur

Every occasion is different–not only in terms of scale or grandeur, but also the audience.

While drafting a speech, one has to anticipate the kind of response that it will receive.

The reaction your speech will receive can only be measured if there exists a fair knowledge of the audience you are addressing.

It is imperative to establish a connection with your audience, and take them on a journey through your speech. This can only be possible when you find common ground and develop a mutual understanding. Then only would they believe and respond to your Call to Action.

It is absolutely essential to know whom you’re addressing. Especially when you’re the founder of a startup– where every form of engagement needs to be tried in order to get your message out there.

All your efforts may unfortunately go in vain, if they’re conveyed incorrectly due to it being the wrong audience.

Follow this article to know more!

3. Watch Your (Body) Language

body language while public speaking is important to enhance your speech and attract people to your business

Public speaking is a misnomer– it should more aptly be called a public performance.

Public speaking is all about projection: of thoughts, ideas, emotions, passion, and state of mind.

It isn’t simply restricted to the points you’ve jotted down in your speech. Every movement, quiver, point of emphasis, addition of drama, and restraint matters.

Think of your script as the bricks, and your body language as the cement– while the words form the foundation of your speech, your physical projection acts as a binding factor.

Communication is of two forms- verbal and non-verbal. The latter is an inaudible, yet powerful component of public speaking.

Eye contact, hand gestures, posture, voice modulation and movement— these are a few components of body language that go a long way, and thus, should be paid attention to.

These tips should help you out for your next speech!

4. Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve

vulnerability in public speaking is important to establish a connect with the audience, and attract them to your business

An honest sense of attachment is what binds you and your audience. Once you know your audience, it is important that you establish a connect with them.

For this, all you have to do is let go of all your inhibition. It may seem daunting at first, but using your vulnerability to your advantage is what can move your listeners.

On stage, there’s no better gift than that of authenticity. After all, we’re all human; we all seek and crave a genuine connection. This is what is provided to you when you decide to wear your heart on your sleeve and let go of your reticence and restraint.

When you’re a budding entrepreneur, every single individual you meet matters, Thus, this need for connection now increases exponentially.

Understandably, it is intimidating to speak in front of people, as there always exists a fear of making a mockery of oneself. However, this fear in itself, when embraced correctly, could help you harness the power of being vulnerable.

5. The Goal

Before any speaking engagement, ask yourself what the goal is.

What is it that you aim to discern, out there?

How can this opportunity be used to grow your business?

These are important questions that shouldn’t be left unanswered. Set small, short-term goals for yourself that ultimately lead to the large one.

Ensure that you know what you want to say, and to whom. Setting these goals will give you clarity and context, when it comes to drafting your speech.

6. Interact!

interacting with your audience while public speaking boosts the credibility and goodwill of your business

Every speaker and presenter allocates a certain part of their overall time to an interactive session with the audience.

For any entrepreneur, this is the perfect opportunity to further persuade their audience and build trust.

People can ask questions and concerns, which you can solve and address as a speaker.

This further builds and strengthens the connect, while adding credibility.

7. Tell Them a Story

Believe it or not, human beings are natural storytellers. Stories are what our conversations and interactions are made of.

Presentation counts. A piece of information may seem highly uninteresting if depicted in a boring, monotonous manner. But, when you speak in a manner where people are hooked, and eager to know where you’re going next, that’s when you’ve hit the nail on the head.

When you speak to your audience like it’s a story, you’re establishing a connection. You’re taking them with you, as you would, a friend.

A story gives you structure. You’re much more relaxed, knowing that there’s a sense of direction with it. Thus, it’s easier for you to remember, as well!

Make it personal. Allow your audience to step into your shoes, and make them feel what you felt. Become one and the same.

Storytelling is the most powerful way you can use to instill belief and trust. Here‘s how you can use it to your advantage.

8. Time It

time is limited when it comes to pitching your business ideas

Related Article: How to Deliver a 1 Minute Speech

Most speakers, unfortunately, don’t have the luxury to talk for hours together.

And even if they did, the average human mind just doesn’t possess the capacity to pay uninterrupted, unbroken attention to the presenter.

Both ways, time is definitely something that one’s running out of.

The best speeches are short and to-the-point. That’s where the impact is maximum. It will leave your audience, perhaps, wanting for more.

For a budding entrepreneur, especially, time is definitely one of the biggest issues!

Business pitches are limited to about 10-18 minutes. An Elevator Pitch just gives you 30 seconds to accurately and concisely explain your idea.

Keeping time is thus, so important and these steps will help you with it!

9. Follow Up

Feedback is what your business is built of, and runs on. Thus, while engaging with your audience, don’t forget to ask them or their honest and valuable opinion and suggestions.

Be open to criticism. No matter what the size or stage of your business is, there is always room for improvement. So, don’t hesitate to ask!

10. Practice, Practice, Practice!

practice public speaking and it will benefit your business.

But, of course, this probably goes without saying, but PRACTICE!

Being an effective orator isn’t a talent someone’s born with. It is an amalgamation of several experiences that shape you as one.

It is intimidating; the nerves are real! But, with every passing experience, you’ll be able to get past it. (or, atleast pretend to)

Practice in front of the mirror. This will give you a fair idea as to how you come off in the public eye.

Record yourself. This will help you not only keep time, but also an insight on where you can improve by using tonality and voice modulation.

How Public Speaking Helps Your Startup:

Related Article: Public Speaking: The Carrier of Your Career

If you’re someone who’s just stepped into the world of business, it is fundamental to understand that every engagement counts.

Irrespective of whether it’s at a tiny coffee shop, bookstore or even an elevator, it is equally paramount in terms of importance.

Inculcating this art and skill serves multiple purposes. It not only helps you persuade your listeners but also shapes you into becoming a valuable asset for your startup.

Here’s how:

1. Attracts Investors

To raise funds for your business, it is crucial to be persuasive about why your company deserves an investment, along with clearly stating the mission statement and vision.

To get an idea of how one should pitch to investors, Shark Tank is a great way to do so.

2. TV Interviews

To promote your business, you may be called to be interviewed by your local network. Thus, having a clear idea of how to communicate your brand is of absolute importance.

3. Employee Motivation

It’s a rollercoaster ride for any business, with a fair share of ups and downs. It is important to not only stay motivated even during turbulent times, but also ensure that your staff too, stays on.

Being an effective communicator and good orator is essential for you to motivate your employees.

4. Shareholder Meetings

Meetings with shareholders and investors–both current and prospective, involve the requirement of great communication skills.

The art of persuasion through public speaking is what will affect the outcome of your startup.

Read this article for more.

5. Conferences

As an entrepreneur, you will also have the opportunity to represent your company at several conferences and meetings.

Thus, it is pivotal for you to thoroughly convey what your company stands for. This comes through experience and knowledge acquired through public speaking.

Power your Point: Tips to Ace Your PowerPoint Game

A PowerPoint is like an emphatic story. Its visual inputs, coupled with the auditory description help convey thoughts, assimilate ideas, and help simplify the complexities in jargon and technicalities.

As a startup founder, the most common type of presentations you’ll be giving is that of a pitch deck.

A pitch deck is a presentation to pitch your company or idea to gain monetary support from prospective clients and investors.

The Recipe for a Great Pitch Deck: 10 Slides to Success

These 10 points encompass what your 10 slides must include

1. Name of Startup, Contact Details, Introduction

2. What is the problem you’re solving? What need have you catered to?

3. What is the solution you’re providing? What are your services?

4. Business Model you’re using

5. Prototype/ Technology

6. Market Analysis

7. Competition

8. Team/ Management

9. Growth Projections

10. How you’re going to utilise the amount received

Related Article: How To Attract Investors To Your Startup Using PowerPoint – Pitch Deck Guide

Additionally, do keep the following in mind

  1. Use Bullet Points– Simple constructs which are limited in length are easy to understand. The human brain finds it easy to understand information when presented crisply, which is done so by bullet points.
  2. Consistency– Uniformity is key. Use the same template, font size, and ensure that there is roughly the same number of words throughout your slides.
  3. Visual Aids– Don’t refrain from using visual aids such as images, bar graphs, and pie charts to present your information.
  4. Avoid Unnecessary Additions– These include animations and transitions, that may make your presentation seem less credible and unprofessional.

Do It Like Them: Entrepreneurs Who Have Harnessed the Power of Public Speaking

1. Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is an entrepreneur, author, Internet personality and speaker. He is the co-founder of Resy and Empathy Wines and is also the Chairman of VaynerX, and the CEO of VaynerMedia.

He has always been an advocate for the fact that one’s true and honest talent is one to be banked on, rather than reputation. His confident and charismatic personality, along with his knack of recognising his audience, has taken him this far.

When we look at Vaynerchuk, his early rise began through YouTube, where he uploaded 20-minute videos daily, known as Wine Library TV, where he tasted and gave reviews to different kinds of wine, thus promoting winelibrary.com.

This was in the year 2006 when YouTube was just a year old. You see, Vaynerchuk made use of every platform he could, to reach out to people. YouTube wasn’t a trend, yet, Gary V saw an opportunity and tapped it. Speaking in front of a camera and uploading those videos, is daunting, as it can be accessed by anyone in the world.

It does require experience–being comfortable and confident enough to upload a video for the world to see, is a skill one can acquire through public speaking.

2. Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek is an American author and motivational speaker. He is one of the most-watched TED Talk presenters of all time.

Sinek, who initially worked in advertising, is now known as a professional guru’, whose book Start With Why quickly became a bestseller after his viral TED Talk.

Public speaking, thus, changed the entire course of his career. By releasing his book shortly after having gone viral, Sinek made full use of every platform and opportunity he had, to stay relevant and pursue what he wanted to.

He believes in establishing a deep-rooted connect with his audience. He deems it as having a conversation with them, rather it being words directed at them.

Thus, you too should make use of every platform and engage with as many people as you can, just like Sinek did. You never know where it may take you.

3. Kim Garst

Kim Garst is an international keynote speaker, marketing strategist and the founder and CEO of social media business consulting firm Boom! Social.

Being named one of Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencers, Garst has worked with brands such as MasterCard, Microsoft, and IBM, and has provided social media and business strategies to hundreds of notable and reputed brands.

The foundation and progress of Garst’s career in itself, is public speaking. You too, can follow her footsteps to conquer the business world, by inculcating public speaking experience.

In Conclusion

Successful startups require collaborative efforts at multiple levels and the key to this is effective communication.

Public speaking is a powerful tool which wins over finances, collaborators, shareholders, clients, and motivates employees in the initial phase of the startup’s growth.

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