Who Gets The Money?

The strongest predictor of who gets venture capital investment is not the credentials or the content of the pitch.  The strongest predictors are the traits: confidence, comfort level and passionate enthusiasm.

Harvard Professor Amy Cuddy reveals data from Lakshmi Balachandra in her new Presence book.  Balachandra investigated the way entrepreneurs made 185 pitches to potential investors and the way investors responded.

This is relevant for all of us as we go into budget meeting season, whatever industry we’re in.  The clear message is that it’s important to focus as much time on your own ‘professional presence’ as on your content.  But how many times do you find your teams pouring over the final slides at the last minute rather than working on how they communicate?  It’s like going into bat with your hand tied behind your back.

The data may sound puzzling but it makes a great deal of sense.  What the investors are looking for is a person who will deliver the plan.  If the entrepreneur looks like they don’t genuinely believe in the proposition or isn’t genuinely confident, why should the investor believe?

The other interesting part of this research is that the investors distrusted ‘slick’ communicators and were looking for the genuine person.

You can learn these business skills with KineticFuture.  We have a new training programme called ‘Professional Presence. The power of the truth’, which blends skills from psychology, brain science and theatre.  Call us if you would like to know more.

The Science of Presence

In her new book ‘Presence’ Harvard psychologist and TED star Amy Cuddy reveals how to unleash your boldest self to heighten your confidence, influence others, and perform at your peak.

Amy Cuddy has galvanized tens of millions of viewers around the world with her TED talk about “power poses.”

Now she presents the enthralling science underlying these and many other fascinating body-mind effects, and teaches us how to use simple techniques to liberate ourselves from fear in high-pressure moments, perform at our best, and connect with and empower others to do the same.

Brilliantly researched, impassioned, and accessible, Presence is filled with stories of individuals who learned how to flourish during the stressful moments that once terrified them. Every reader will learn how to approach their biggest challenges with confidence instead of dread, and to leave them with satisfaction instead of regret.

KineticFuture courses incorporate the latest science with practical tools. We coach leaders to be exceptional communicators for presentations, video and select committees. Do call us if you’d like to know more.

Buy Amy’s book ‘Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges’ on Amazon.

The Walk On

Image from NASA – The old countdown clock at the Kennedy Space Center press site is seen ticking down to a space shuttle launch in 2011.

It’s like a countdown to blast off for me. Five minutes before the presentation my heart beats faster.  Sometimes I’m excited and keen to get going, sometimes I feel quite sick.  Occasionally my mind goes blank.  Personally, I find small sit down meeting presentations harder than the big stage set.

The only thing that reassures me is that the business CEOs we coach, top actors and top scientists often feel the same. This is normal for many of us.

Over the years, I’ve built 7 coping strategies for the initial ‘walk on’ which I’m happy to share. It’s a smorgasbord of ideas from our coaches, neuroscience and positive psychology.  I’d love to learn from what works for you too.  It’s a very individual thing.

Tuning in I need to spend significant time finding out what will be useful to and land with the audience in advance.  Without this, I feel very naked.  I want to have a conversation with the audience and join their ‘in group’.

Water & restMy throat used to go hoarse before presentations.  Drinking more water over the week ahead and getting more hours of sleep has solved the problem.

A strong point of viewI have to really believe in what I’m presenting, even for that half an hour, to do a good job.  I know I have something valuable to say, a very clear point of view and a good way of building an emotional connection with the audience when I’m really looking forward to ‘getting out there’.  So I talk out loud while walking my dog to make sure it feels strong enough and flows right.  And I visualise what it will be like to present well to the group.

My territorygetting into the room early or prowling around the stage before people arrive helps me relax.  I want to welcome the audience into my domain and I don’t want practical hiccups.

Power posingI will disappear to stand and open my arms wide for two minutes in private to get my cortisol levels down.  Amy Cuddy’s research does work in practice.  It also makes me laugh. (Watch Amy’s Ted talk ‘Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are’ here).

BreathingJust off stage or sitting in my seat I will take 5 slow breaths right into the pit of my stomach, breathe out completely, wait a second and repeat.  Then I’ll walk on with purpose.  I’ll take two more of these breaths looking at the audience before I start to speak on stage.

CheatingI deliberately structure the presentation with a video, music or audience interaction early so that I can make a connection and relax myself.  In meetings, I’ll make sure I’ve asked a question or contributed during a previous discussion.

If you or your leadership team would like to become really good presenters who can engage and energise others, please do enquire about our courses. We work one to one and in groups. Contact us to find out more.

Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” – standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident – can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.