Pitching to Zimbabwean Investors

What makes a good business presentation in Zimbabwe? At some stage of your business growth curve, you will need to make a presentation of sorts to some other party. It could be presenting a business plan to a potential financier or pitching your product/services to a potential client. In this post, I draw three lessons from my experience making presentations…

Your first step will most probably be to google for presentation tips, tricks and hacks (PTTH). The web is awash with “expert advice” and you can easily be overwhelmed. Faced with piles of PTTH advice, you will need to determine what is essential and what is #BS. What does and does not work? Furthermore, what works for the Zimbabwean audience?

A few weeks ago, our team was on a roadshow, presenting an investment opportunity to several investors. It was a roller-coaster experience and we made 10 presentations in 5 days. That experience, has reaffirmed my convictions about my three PTTH.

  1. Engagement is everything – Most PTTH from online “experts” are focused on you grabbing the attention of the audience.
    • Presenting a shocking statistic or a funny story at the beginning is an example of such advise. However, attention is not engagement and engagement is more valuable than attention.
    • If YOU are making the presentation, then YOU already have enough attention. If your audience is attentive, you will be able to GIVE them all the information you have, however, an engaged audience will GET certain key information from you. With an engaged audience, you may not even follow through on your presentation plan.
    • Engagement is the next level after attention. You need to actively steer your audience to engagement.
    • I personally use a structured approach to my presentations which assures me an engaged audience throughout my delivery. The strategy outlined here is the closest to what I use.
  2. Know yourself – I know myself. I am an introvert. Period.
    • Dramatic openings are not for me. The pressure makes me uncomfortable and may actually give me nerves. The structured approach i use really works for me. I create certain expectations from the onset which positions my audience for a better engagement throughout the delivery.
    • I always suffer a mild case of nerves at the opening few seconds…so I make a few chatty remarks at the beginning from which I seamlessly launch into the presentation. My opening remarks help me get settled before moving over to the actual delivery.
    • I know myself and what works for me. I am still perfecting my style. My advice to you is to (1) know yourself; and (2) build your presentation style around your character. Do not take “advice” that is against your character because it piles unnecessary pressure on you. Such “advice” may be good in general, but for you, it can be  #BS.
  3. Sweet Zimbabwean audience – Zimbabwean professionals are just that … professional. Bless them.
    • Zimbabwean professionals will almost always evaluate your presentation on the merits of the content and the story alone.
    • You just need to (1)Do your homework. (2) Know what you are talking about. You will be good to go. 

I am saying…

Do not put yourself under undue pressure through following attention grabbing strategies and similar PTTH. Know yourself…work around your character until you find a presentation style that is comfortable for YOU and feels like a second skin. The Zimbabwean audience is mostly learned and educated. They will evaluate your case on its merits alone. Focus your energies on creating a good story, backed by properly researched content. Everything else should be a secondary consideration for you.

It takes time plus a few hits and misses until you find your own groove…but it is worth it. Believe me.

Remember, we can do BIG things…

 

 

 

 

 

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