In your pitch deck, it is important to communicate your ideas clearly and concisely. No one should have to sit and read a slide for a full minute just to understand what it is trying to communicate. Share your work with friends who aren't in the biz, and make sure they get it within just a few seconds.
It's also important to know who your target is. Different groups may require different information. It will be different pitching to your uncle as opposed to a venture capitalist. With one, you are already friends, and with the other, you're trying to make friends. Evan stressed that it is not difficult to access people; what is difficult is starting a real relationship with them. In a meeting, don't get so caught up in what you have to say and communicate. Realize that the one sitting across from you is a person, too.
Evan gave "luck" another name - surface area. When someone is hoping to meet the "right" people, it goes a long way to make more friends, outside your typical circle. Each new person you meet has the potential to connect you with the people you really need.
He had some other (my words) quick and dirty tips:
- Investors aren't interested in your ideas. They are interested in scalable models.
- Take improv classes to improve your read on other people and your ability to think on your feet.
- Order nice business note cards to send as thank you's, with a gift, or to follow up.
- When you're on the road, increase your quantity of contacts, as well as diversity (this goes back to surface area).
- Try taking a sip of water after the "ask" - it keeps you from babbling and gives them time to think and respond.
For my clients, I was curious about financial statements and what an investor would be expecting. According to Evan, the investor may not need to see those statements, but they need to exist, and the entrepreneur should be familiar enough with the numbers to be able to have a conversation about them. As far which one is most important - Statement of Cash Flows wins.
For me, Evan's biggest challenge to us was to be authentic and put our hearts into the process, treating people like we'd want to be treated. Mistakes are inevitable; it's how you recover from them that matters.