When Talking to Investors or Lenders - Always Be Ready

communicating with investors or lenders

As with any pitch, know your audience and its pain points.

 

Regardless of whom you are pitching for an investment or what stage of growth your company is in, you need to be as tight and as bullet proof as possible.  That is especially true in any and all of your personal and company communications.  

Here are my 14 rules about your communications game when pitching investors or lenders, it has to be tip top. I have learned hard way by sitting on both sides of the table and making mistakes left and right, more on that a bit later.

The fourteen communications rules:  

1.    Simpler is better

2.    Less words = higher impact

3.    Clarity is your friend

4.    Know what you need and ask for it

5.    Be grounded yet visionary and achieve balance between practicality and potential

6.    Don’t be afraid to say “you don’t know” 

7.    Asking questions makes you sound smarter, really

8.    Endurance to go the distance is more important than brute force

9.    Different investors have different needs – know what matters to each

10.  Hot leads (awesome), warm intros (great), cold calls (if you must) 

11.  Silence is good, don’t fill empty spots with idle chatter

12.  Under-promise and over-deliver, always

13.  Humble and grounded is the honey, slick and fast talking is the vinegar

14.  Make them believe they came up with idea – pride of ownership is your enemy

We Latinos are culturally wired to actually do the opposite of many of the above rules – especially the one about being comfortable with silence and not using that many words.   I for one, love to talk and enjoy a healthy and solid back and forth - but sometimes the loudest action you can take is inaction, silence.  

One of the first bosses I ever had was so skilled at using silence to communicate that it almost felt like he was screaming.  And whenever he spoke, every word carried with it weight and was received with anticipation and respect.

Next- Some of these rules seem counterintuitive

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About the author

Javier Saade

Javier Saade has 20+ years of investing, management, entrepreneurial and policy experience.  He's a Senior Fellow at Georgetown's Beeck Center and an Executive in Residence at Columbia Technology Ventures.  Most recently, he was SBA's Associate Administrator and Chief of Investment and Innovation.  Javier oversaw tens of billions of dollars via the SBIC, SBIR, STTR and Growth Accelerator Fund Programs. Before that, he was Managing Director at an emerging markets investment firm, a Principal at a venture capital firm and an institutional advisor at a macro hedge fund.  Javier spent his foundational career years as a strategy consultant at two firms, McKinsey and Booz Allen and held several operational roles at Abbott Laboratories.  He also co-founded three companies and holds degrees from Harvard, IIT, and Purdue.

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