Learn the secrets to public speaking & attracting investors

  • Public speaking is a powerful tool, but only if you do it right.
  • The many mistakes entrepreneurs make seeking investors. Do it properly!
  • When you pitch your idea to an investor, you have ONE chance at getting it right, don’t spoil it!


  • I love public speaking. It’s not something that came naturally to me as a child, but my love of teaching and inspiring groups of people has helped me develop good public speaking skills. When I worked for Lehman Brothers, they put me through a mandatory course on public speaking, with emphasis on body language and voice tonality. The course was run 1-on-1 by a BBC News anchor, and she filmed, critiqued, and coached us to improve our abilities. Her feedback on my performance was a big confidence boost, as I was apparently ranked in the top quartile among Directors at Lehman Europe. However I do know that many people don’t feel comfortable speaking in front of big crowds. In fact, I’ve been to hundreds of conferences and the vast majority of speakers and panelists “undersell” themselves by hiding their tremendous subject knowledge behind relatively weak body language, voice tonality, and assertiveness. This article from the Harvard Business Review discusses the secrets of effective public speaking and provides some easy exercises to help you become more adept at communicating with large crowds.
  • As an entrepreneur, finding the right investors to fund and grow your business is (in my opinion) the most difficult undertaking of your journey. This is the case globally, but especially so in the Middle East where the massive pool of investor money is unfamiliar with funding start-ups and often shies away because of a lack of understanding of the risks and potential upside. In fact, I would venture to say that more than 75% of entrepreneurs I come across trying to raise funding from investors don’t have a plan of attack. They don’t educate themselves on the different types of investors, what it takes to get an investor interested, and more importantly: what value will the investor bring. This article provides some high level guidance on devising a fund-raising strategy and approaching investors, it’s a good starting point. If you need advice, please drop me an email.
  • In the same vein, one of the most critical steps an entrepreneur takes when talking to investors is the “pitch”. In the investment community, first impressions matter! In fact, I would even say that second chances are a rarity: you have ONE opportunity to “hook” an investor’s interest. Do you think about that when preparing your pitch? Do you prepare a list of questions you think an investor would ask you (and ask themselves) and have the answers ready IN your pitch? Nothing impresses an investor more than a comprehensive pitch where the majority of their questions are already WITHIN the pitch before they even have to ask them. This article by a partner at a leading venture capital firm discusses how they would expect you (the entrepreneur) to pitch your idea to them (the investor) to really stand out. If you want to see examples of how NOT to do it, then watch 2 of my favorite shows: Dragon’s Den (UK) and Shark Tank (US) where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to savvy investors, often to get humiliated. In most cases, it’s their “pitch” that lets them down, even if they have an excellent product…