I walked out of that meeting knowing that I wouldn’t get funded.
Months of planning and dreaming, over in a moment. A group of people with power to fund my idea said no. And as I wracked my brain and mentally searched the last hour of conversation I knew I had to learn from this. In my years I’ve pitched ideas for events that cost millions and heard yes, and I’ve pitched ideas that went nowhere.
But over the years, I’ve chosen to get better not bitter.
Here are a few things I’ve learned when presenting. These aren’t a guarantee but they’re a great start!
- Know your audience. Are the people you’re presenting to excited about big vision? Are they primarily concerned about ROI? Do they take bold risk or are they more conservative. You have to get in their head and value their perspective to craft your presentation effectively.
- You are not entitled to their excitement. This is a big one. If you come into that room assuming that everyone will be excited about your dream, you will soon be flustered and even come across condescending. If they aren’t excited, it’s your fault. Maybe start with a story that illustrates your dream. Don’t dive straight into business, slow down to build vision and cast why you are passionate about this. Side note: If you aren’t passionate about it, nobody will be. If you aren’t excited, you probably shouldn’t pitch it.
- Be prepared. Now, this seems like a no-brainer. But seriously, come prepared. Have deep dives into budget on hand just in case. Have mock-up logos and graphics. Come looking like you know what you’re doing. The more prepared you are, the more relaxed you’ll be.
This is a huge subject with a lot more nuance. Grab my book Head in the Clouds, Feet on the Ground for a deeper dive into pursuing dreams in a healthy way.