See If Grandma Gets It

Think about the last five investment marketing presentations that you attended:

1. Were any of the ideas and presentations memorable?

2. And if so, why did those talks stand out from the crowd?

3. Can you remember the key message?

4. Can you recall the solutions offered and key differentiators?

5. What were the action points that the speaker encouraged you to be mindful of or act upon?

The reality is we remember so little after attending investment marketing presentations or pitches for capital investment as we fly home after a conference. After a week, we remember less than 5% of the talks that impressed us most.

In a previous life I used to be a minister. People used to approach me and tell me how much they enjoyed the previous week’s sermon. I would thank them and then ask, “What specifically did you like about last week’s sermon? Many times they would say, “I can’t remember, but it was great . . . ”

I realized then that it was one thing to make people feel good. Yet I needed to develop the skill to make my talks memorable, so that people could remember the key points and call to action months later.

On reflection, the reason my talks were not having a lasting impact is because the definitive purpose of each talk was mushy and not that clear to me. As a result, the audience received a mixed or muddy message. Although they reacted emotionally to my stories, my stories were not tight enough. I needed my key points to become embedded in the audience’s mind for a long time.

Albert Einstein is said to have challenged his post-doc students to explain the focus of their research to their grandmothers. The idea being that if grandma gets it, the student does too. In other words, Einstein challenged his students to find a way of translating complexity to family members who were not part of the scientific tribe. In the process, Einstein hoped his students would gain more internal clarity and confidence in sharing their discoveries and ideas.

While running a program on this subject recently, I decided to spend more time helping my students arrive at a higher degree of clarity before presenting their process, product or research to their stakeholders. I was blown away at how much impact it had on their confidence and clarity of delivery.

Ask yourself the following questions as you begin to prepare your next big pitch:

1. What is the challenge or problem?

2. How does my idea provide a solution?

3. How do my stories support the solution?

4. What are the benefits?

5. What is the call to action?

When things are not clear, the delivery comes across as muddy.

Clarity is key to preparing and delivering a memorable talk or pitching for investment funding. Clarity fosters confidence and helps you to be more persuasive, in a principled and compelling way.

And remember, if you want your audience to remember more than 5% of your talk or pitch, test your content out on grandma before you go.

You’ll be so glad you did.