People are working from home more than ever these days—but that’s not stopping startups and small businesses who are looking for funding from investors. In these unique times, pitching to investors remotely may now be a make-or-break skill for your business.
The good news is that many of the same skills that serve you well in person apply to pitching remotely as well. In this article, we’ll discuss 10 tips and best practices for pitching to investors in a remote environment, so that you can best prepare for the call and smooth over any bumps in the road.
Before the Call
Send out the slides ahead of time: Providing your presentation slides beforehand is a good idea in general, but even more important in a digital environment. If you have technical issues with your video, you can still direct viewers to follow along by downloading the file to their own devices. Sending your slides in advance also allows viewers to digest the information and come up with questions they want to ask.
Prepare, prepare, prepare: You can minimize the possibility of glitches and disruptions by making the necessary arrangements. In order to avoid a bad first impression, select a location where you won’t be interrupted and with a high-speed Internet connection. Send a calendar invitation to participants so that you’ll receive a reminder before the call and avoid confusion over time zones.
Coordinate with coworkers: If you plan to include other people from the company in the call, coordinate with them ahead of time so that you can present a professional, unified face. For example, you might designate certain people to give certain parts of the presentation, or to answer certain types of questions.
Invest in a virtual data room: Virtual data rooms (VDRs) are online repositories of sensitive and confidential information that must be shared with third parties, usually for major events such as M&A deals, fundraising rounds, and IPOs. Having a VDR ensures that you can back up your statements with the right documents, without worrying that they’ll fall into the wrong hands.
During the Call
Choose the right camera position: If you’re broadcasting from an external webcam, smartphone, or tablet, position the device for the best view of your head and shoulders. Use light effectively so that your image isn’t too dark or too bright. Be sure not to have the device at an awkward angle—e.g. straight up your nose or too close to your face.
Set the agenda: At the beginning of the call, provide an agenda so that everyone has a rough time frame for the call. This will help provide clarity and guidance, so that you don’t go over time and can seamlessly transition between different parts of the call.
Use the mute button: Strategic use of the mute button can help if you’re in a location with background noise, or if you’re expecting an interruption. Conversely, don’t forget to unmute yourself when it’s your time to speak.
Record yourself: Public speaking is a skill that needs practice—especially when your audience isn’t even in the same room as you. If possible, it can be very insightful to record your presentation and review it after the call, so that you can see what you did well and what needs improvement. Recording yourself before the call can also help you plan your time better, and shake off any nervous jitters if you need more practice with online presentations.
After the Call
Decide on the next steps: At the end of your call, you should have a fairly good idea of where your potential investors stand. If they aren’t yet ready to commit, ask them what information they need or what kind of progress they’d like to see.
Follow up appropriately: Soon after the call (i.e. on the same day), send a quick email to viewers that summarizes the discussion and offers the most important takeaways. Be sure to thank everyone for their attendance, and address any questions that you weren’t able to answer during the call.