Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending an entrepreneur meetup in the FinTech space. More and more of these events are popping up in London now, and it’s always interesting to learn about new FinTech companies.
Always Be Educating
The presentations were brief, mostly interesting, and posed lots of interesting questions about the direction of FinTech moving forward. But they were quite product-y. Now that’s fine – sometimes you’re there to pitch a product, but when you are pitching, you should be educating too. Offer me a new way of looking at FinTech. Give me facts and figures about the industry – if I’m calling you up on stuff you’ve missed, you’re doing it wrong.
Also, make sure that your message is pitched to the right audience. If there are no investors in the room, you’re only going to confuse people by making a pitch for funding.
Keep it Simple
Events like this are always full of people I love and admire. You always get to talk to smart people who are making a difference through their work.
But … as I was listening it was clear that all of the presentations were being delivered by people who know and care a lot about their subject. That’s fine, but the risk is that they assume that their audience know about the subject or are as involved in it as they are.
When your subject is telephone wholesale minutes or the minutiae of international supply chains, that’s not a fair ask to make of your audience. I saw a lot of people who were visibly ‘lost’ during the presentations.
As a presenter, you owe it to your audience to keep your talk simple, and break difficult to understand concepts are broken down. Never, never do a presentation without running it past someone who works outside your industry first.
Mentally prepare yourself first
It always helps me to take a little time immediately before my talk to rehearse what I’m going to say in my head. You don’t want those first few lines to be awkward, and you want to have a strong finish. Ideally, you should know exactly what you want to say for these.
Also – try to avoid mingling too much with the other attendees before your talk. This might sound counter-intuitive, but I’ve often found that it distracts focus from the talk you have to give. Some of the best speakers I’ve seen withdraw slightly in the ten minutes before a presentation just to get the focus they need. Prime yourself as an athlete would.
As you’re giving the talk, maintain eye contact with your audience and maintain enthusaism for your subject. If it sounds like you’re giving a canned stump speech, your audience is going to tune out pretty quickly. This can be a big problem if you have to give the same talk a number of times in succession – you know where the laugh lines are, but you have to deliver it as though it’s the first time you’ve given the talk.
Whatever you do – finish on a strong statement (never “And that’s it.”), always ask for questions (and sound like you actually want questions!) and make your slides available afterwards. You never know who might be in the audience.