How To Respond To Investors During A Pitch Meeting
Part of pitching your business idea is knowing how to respond thoughtfully. You may have already prepared your presentation, and have a solid plan to present, but understanding non-verbal cues will help you better navigate tricky questions during the meeting.
As you enter a meeting with an investor or a group of investors, always remember they are generally on your side already. Their mood is positive, and they are hopeful they are going to hear something compelling. They’ve briefly vetted you and you passed the first test, which is why they are now meeting you. However, as the conversation continues, be prepared for ups and downs as they voice their concerns. You have to expect that and understand how to read their body language to maintain a good conversation flow.
It is important to address any skepticism right away.
You should expect some skepticism. Investors are potentially going to provide you with a substantial amount of money or services, so they want to be as certain about their decision. Don’t let doubt creep into your mind as you begin your presentation.
Below you will find three different types of cues that will potentially come up during your pitch meeting.
If reading body language isn’t your strong suit, consider our e-course, Mastering Non-Verbal Communications, in this course you will learn how to read your audience which will become crucial during your pitch meeting.
1. Eye Movement
One way to prep how to respond to investors during a pitch meeting is to be aware of your eye movement and theirs. Make sure that when you are speaking with investors, whether you are standing or sitting, that you lock eyes with them while you speak. This shows your sincerity and seriousness.
Looking down while you are talking may make you appear unsure or insecure. With this opportunity, you want to present a feeling of confidence and excitement.
For example, have you ever been in a presentation where the presenter failed to look up from their notes or PowerPoint? When this happened did you feel connected to their presentation? Did you remember what their presentation was about? The answer is probably no. You were probably noticing how uncomfortable or unconfident they looked. That is not the feeling you want to convey to others.
On the flip side, if you see that the investor is looking away or beginning to disengage – make sure to address that immediately too. Often times them looking away could be them thinking and processing what you are saying. However, if it appears they’re disengaged, this could be a sign of skepticism creeping in.
There are several ways that you can make sure that your investors stay engaged and ward off any signs of skepticism:
- Pause and ask them if there is something you can help clarify or explain. By asking them a question you are giving them an opportunity to address their potential concerns. This also allows you to respond right away.
- Present cold hard facts when you can. Numbers are powerful and can give you credibility. Showing them data to bolster your message can perk up their ears and interest.
- If possible, give an expert review for context. The investors in the room may not be experts in your field. So giving them a chance to learn what an expert has to say will help you build credibility.
Remember, keeping good eye contact during your entire pitch is the first step to keeping your investors engaged and excited.
2. Arm Placement
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who had their arms crossed? Whether you realize it or not, crossed arms can be a sign that someone is not interested anymore. Being aware of your investor’s arm placement will help you decipher whether they are still listening and interested.
If their arms are on the table and their body is turned towards you, or their arms are in a loose sort of motion on their lap, it’s a sign that they are open-minded and still listening.
However, if you notice that they are beginning to cross their arms or are leaning back and looking around, that again might mean they are either processing or they are becoming skeptical.
Similar to eye contact, if you notice that they appear to be withdrawing, address it immediately. You can simply pause and say, “Do you have any questions?” The key here is you want to address their skepticism early on because once they become skeptical, they tend to close off their listening.
In today’s evolving digital landscape, you may also be having this pitch meeting on video. If that is the case, you may have a more difficult time reading their arm placement and keeping up with good eye contact.
We recommend the e-course “Digital Body Language” to learn more about reading body language while speaking on video.
3. Mirror Positive Body Language
If appropriate, try to mirror positive body language. What is positive body language?
Positive body language is a type of non-verbal communications that puts you and your audience in a position of comfort or at ease. Positive body language signals that you are open and approachable too.
Examples of positive body language include:
- Good eye contact
- Having an open posture (no crossing your arms!)
- Hands in a relaxed state
- Good posture
If you notice the investor or the listener is displaying these positive body language cues, be sure to mirror it. Being able to mirror these types of body language will subtlely make others feel confident and comfortable. The reason why mirroring is a great form of communication is because it builds a connection through the similarity of body language.
It may not be obvious or even noticeable, but oftentimes subtle cues of mirroring can make a huge difference in the dynamics of a conversation. It is also important that your body is turned towards your audience when you are speaking. You want them to feel your attention is to them 100%.
Again, be mindful of the body language of the person you are speaking with. And remember, if you notice any skepticism in any investor’s body language, through their eyes or arms, make sure to respond immediately. This way you will stay in control of the conversation and you won’t lose your investor’s interest or this coveted opportunity.
In our LinkedIn Learning e-course, Presentation Tips For Pitching To Investors, you will learn more about how to respond to your audience, answering those tough questions, and being your authentic self.
Do you want to shine in your next pitch presentation? Join our private communications group where you can work with our Soulcast Media team on your communications every month!
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