How to handle boards of directors and
board meetings is a challenge many CEO’s
face and one that Alex has helped many leaders
navigate. Alex helps CEO’s deal with sensitive
issues at board meetings, keeping competing
interests in perspective, and aligning boards
with company missions. This photo recently
appeared in a feature article on managing and
rebuilding boards for the national magazine
Chronicle of Philanthropy. .more
Motivating and communicating can make or break the organization...more
$300M in early-stage venture funding means a lot of traction...more
The Only Thing You have to Sell is Yourself...more
Time is the most precious asset you own...more
Road Show Wisdom
Dear Colleagues and Clients,
What's your ante when making a presentation? A little tension, a night of lost
sleep or--millions of dollars? And the payoff? Are you getting the best results?
Whether the impact of your presentation is large or small, the following
thoughts can be valuable:
ROAD SHOW WISDOM FOR SPEAKERS
Road show jockeys, people raising angel, venture or IPO money, have more in
common with the work-horse, corporate presentations delivered daily than many
realize. Why? For one thing, the typical reaction to both is "dull and difficult
It's true, the road show jockey is generally on a "mission", more so than the
average corporate presenter. With a high-stakes race to be won, the economic and
personal stakes are high. Yet, common blunders delay or even prevent competitive
and qualified people from arriving at the finish line winners.
What are a few key ideas that cause people to run off track and send
communication mis-signals costing millions of dollars? Here are five common
errors and solutions. These are as true for everyday presentations as for the
truly high stakes events.
1. EVEN SHARKS ARE VIRGINS
Many jokes are made among entrepreneurs about the implacability of venture
capitalists and others who invest. It's true: This can be a tough crowd.
Regardless of the audience's financial sophistication, when it comes to your
story, they are virgins. Tell your story so the audience can envision and
understand, or you will not raise a cent.
Solution: Deliver a draft of the presentation to virgin ears by arranging formal
or informal focus groups and make adjustments accordingly.
2. WIGGED-OUT INFORMATION
This is the result of a confused "story line" that only you and your insiders
understand. Your information must be focused through the mind's eye of the
target audience, or you will fall short of your goals. To avoid wigged-out
information and align with the audience's real needs, you must first ask how you
want them to feel about your company at the end of your presentation.
Solution: Determine how you want your audience to feel at the end of your road
show, the exact feeling word. Write it in bold letters to keep in front of you
as you work on your presentation.
3. KISS: KEEP IT SIMPLE, SHOWBOAT
One entrepreneur's strategy was to overwhelm potential investors with
complexity. That way, he reasoned, they'd "see how important the company was."
Oh dear. It doesn't work this way. Most speakers inadvertently create
Solution: Use analogy and metaphor to create simplicity and overview key
concepts. Once the audience has a base understanding, you can layer levels of
detail to complete the picture.
4. TALKING HEADS
Talking heads distance investors and create complacency. Every target audience
is secretly praying the next speaker will be succinct, authentic and viable.
Most of the time, speakers are so detached from the audience and residing so
deeply in their own internal reality, they rattle on as if they were talking to
themselves. The investors literally can't decipher the true message. (And since
they don't want to tell you that, they pick some obscure aspect of your business
plan to reject.)
Solution: Bring your personality to the table and speak conversationally!
Practice ahead of time and avoid reading.
5. VISUAL AID ABUSES
Sun Microsystems' President directed company employees to stop using visual
aids. The Wall Street Journal reported IBM's CEO, Lou Gertsner saying, "More
than three overheads, and you will be excused." These intelligent leaders
understand the abuse of visual aids is the communication tragedy of this decade.
Rather than prevent confusion, they create it and cause decision-making havoc.
Solution: Minimize the use of your slides and overheads. Stop using them as your
Remember, even sophisticated investors cross their fingers, hoping you will be
"the one" they can believe in, the person with the idea that will reap a
reasonable return on investment. They are looking for opportunities. They are
looking for winners. Don't disappoint them.
Follow these guidelines, and make it easy for them to bet on you!
The Essence of Communication
People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did... But people
will never forget How you made them feel.
These are just a few tips. Please call 214.696.3510 and learn more about road
shows, executive coaching, management consulting or keynote speeches offered.
Let me assist you in positioning your message. Also, fax 214.891.9799 your name
and address, and I'll send you a worksheet helpful in preparing for any
presentation. Check out our web site mailto:www.lodestaruniversal.com or email
me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or comments.
Thank you for the incredible referrals and business this last quarter!
Until next time,
Alex B. Ramsey
President, LodeStar Universal
P.S. This letter is designed to present thoughts and ideas relevant to better
communication and leadership. To be removed from the mailing, please call
immediately. - If you know others who will benefit from these services, please
pass along this information.
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