I gave a presentation last week in Tokyo (pics) for the Entrepreneurs' Association of Tokyo. This was an amazing group of smart, creative people. For this talk I highlighted a few well-known entrepreneurs who understand the importance of presentation. You may know people like Guy Kawasaki, Seth Godin, and Tom Peters, etc. but there is another very successful business man who has done a lot to help professionals make better presentations. That man is David S. Rose, one of the most influential technology executives in New York City. A man BusinessWeek called a "world conquering entrepreneur" and dubbed "The Pitch Coach" for his ability to help entrepreneurial executives perfect their presentation skills and tell their stories. (See the online version of the BusinessWeek article. Also see It's All in the Sequence.)
Presenting in Tokyo for a creative group of entrepreneurs.
One of the slides I used while talking about why presentations matter.
Some advice from David S. Rose
David, a graduate of Yale (Urban Planning) and Columbia (MBA) contacted me over a year ago to say he was a long-time reader of this blog, and he has been an amazing evangelist for the Presentation Zen book (David wrote a review on Amazon that was very kind). I even had a 2-page callout section featuring David S. Rose in the Presentation Zen book, but in the final hours (literally) I had to cut those pages along with callout pages and sample slides for Al Gore and Guy Kawasaki. In future I hope to release these pages in a free downloadable appendix. Below is a section from David S. Rose that did not make it into the Presentation Zen book. David makes a very interesting point here:
"The primary hallmark of an entrepreneurial fundraising pitch as opposed to other types of presentations is that the most important factor by far is you. Investors are going to spend the entire session attempting to determine if you are the person behind whom they should invest their money, and how you come across personally is often more important than everything else combined, including your business plan, and industry and financial projections. This means that fundraising pitches must be given by the CEO and no one else. The top ten characteristics that investors will be looking to find in you during your presentation are:
• Experience (in starting a business)
• Skill (in functional operating areas)
"Concerning the flow of your presentation, the single most important thing in sequencing a presentation is that everything must flow logically from beginning to end, and require no prior knowledge on the part of the audience. You do not want the audience to have to "think" at all, which means you need to answer every potential question at exactly the right place, just before the audience would think to ask it. It sounds easy, but 99% of presentations don't do it."
—David. S. Rose