"Having visited different startup sessions during several months, we want to ask you: why are all presentations so ugly?" Why can’t you present yourselves correctly and answer easy questions?" So, we’ve decided to combine our efforts and launch this project for you," said Mr. Khorunzhy in his opening speech.
The speakers focused on three topics, presentation skills being one of them. According to Evgeny Turvinenko, before making a presentation one needs to understand who the people from the audience — their potential investors, clients and partners — are, what arguments are significant for them, what they ignore, what may hurt them. Then one has to define the goal of a presentation. What do you want from the public — money, contacts, or further meetings? It helps understand which words to use and how to structure one’s speech.
Usually, presenters start their speech with something like "I am going to do this and that." Vsevolod Khorunzhy thinks that one should better focus on a problem which affects both speaker and public.
"Talk about pain caused by this problem. And present your solution right after that by explaining why they have to choose your project. That may be things like your previous experience, solved cases, famous clients or a cool team," says Mr. Khorunzhy.
According to the speakers, having chosen a topic, startupers have to rehearse their presentations several times. Due to stress, they often misinterpret the situation. Some underestimate themselves, and behave like "please give us money, we will totally fail without it!" Others behave like "don't bother me with your advices and questions, I know this business better than you." The point is that investors take seriously only those who behave as equals.
"We call this approach "win2win." It is when you come to share your product in order to earn money together with investors as opposed to ask or prove something."
Evgeny Turvinenko and Vsevolod Khorunzhy also commented on the contents of presentations. The rule here is: the less words are on a slide the better. Parenthetic words and general information are useless. Slides have to be readable and clear. If you are not sure about your abilities in design, use ready solutions.
One also has to be ready for questions. You can prepare: learn what your audience wants to know and analyze its needs — ask those who already presented their ideas to them. Then train to answer these questions out loud.
"There is no magic. It is all about the system. Just follow the metrics you know," noted Mr. Turvinenko.
After each section of their lecture the speakers asked startupers to come to the stage so as to apply the new knowledge to the practice. Several teams tried to present their "perfect pitches" during the workshop.