When you think of a great speaker, do you think of someone who is entertaining to watch? Someone who uses the whole stage, makes people laugh, is unconventional?
That kind of speaker may be memorable, but would you feel comfortable give him a big chunk of your money to invest in something risky? Or would you prefer to trust your money with someone who exudes focus, confidence and competence about a product in which she clearly believes?
Talk to Individuals, Don't Play to the Crowd
Investors are the same way: you are asking them to put a lot of faith in your ability to deliver on something that is by no means guaranteed. They want to feel reassured that you are a serious person who will do serious work.
Stand still, focus on their eyes and interact with the person to whom you are speaking. Your body language should imply that he or she is the most important person in the room and that you are talking about something that is of great mutual interest.
... Even If It's a Big Crowd
What if you're on stage in a big venue instead of a board room? The same advice still applies: focus on the eyes of different individuals around the room, keep your body language calm, and exude confidence in your value proposition through smooth delivery accented by enthusiasm and excitement in your voice. You want them to remember you as an expert, not you as a clown or used car salesperson.
Tip for Staying Focused
If you have trouble keeping still when you are speaking in front of a crowd, take advantage of the podium: hold onto it with both hands to keep from gesticulating and keep your mouth at a consistent distance from the mic so that the volume doesn't fluctuate (although do turn your head to look at people in different parts of the audience). That combination will do wonders for helping to calm your body language even in very stressful situations.
OK, Sometimes Play to the Crowd
If you've got a great demo or something else that highlights your value proposition in a way that is surprising or otherwise memorable, then by all means use it. But treat such elements as the spice in your pitch, not the main course. It will be that much more effective as the highlight of your talk than as one of many highlights.
What do you think? Do you have any favorite tips for delivering a great investor pitch? Please comment below!