He can research who he’s playing and watch footage of that person in previous matches. But he cannot predict what they will do.
This is the opposite of a professional wrestling match, where every move and outcome is pre-determined. The participants rehearse a set script and perform it theatrically, like actors on a stage.
The two sports require dramatically different training processes. Professional wrestlers plan, rehearse and fine-tune each move in the sequence. Tennis players, however, need to prepare for the unpredictable.
Investors will slamming tough questions over the net that you need to return with a poised volley. It can be intimidating. Many of our clients have told us that investor Q&A is the part they dread most. It is, however, essential to the process.
After all, any pitch suffers from information asymmetry – one party knows a lot more about the deal than the other.
They have a duty to peel back the curtain and look behind-the-scenes before reaching a decision, like financial detectives conducting a forensic exam.
That’s because the stakes are so high. If investors receive a defensive or aggressive response to a particular line of enquiry, investors get wary. They worry that you’re hiding something, and that the deal could backfire.
So how do you prepare for questions you can’t predict? Like Roger Federer, you practice, preferably with an expert coach.
At BBA, your coach will pose a tough question and you respond. Your coach asks a second question and you respond, and then your coach gives feedback on your first few answers.
You discuss potential stumbling blocks and your coach shares practical advice and insight that helps you shape a clear and coherent path through your thoughts.
Your coach puts the first question to you again in a slightly different form, and you give a slightly more concise, confident and persuasive response.
You take time to think them through, try out some answers and practise delivering them out loud on your own. You identify any gaps in your knowledge and pick up a few additional facts and figures to use in your answers next time round.
You meet with your coach again, and he or she starts pounding the balls over the net. But this time, you’re ready to return them more swiftly and gracefully.
Instead of wincing when you hear a particularly aggressive question, you relax and smile, responding honestly but positively.
Within a few sessions, you’ll feel ready for whatever happens on Centre Court.
After all, Roger Federer doesn’t start a tennis match hoping for a series of easy and predictable shots. What a waste of his skill!
Likewise, invest in preparation and you’ll be able to embrace the tough questions as a challenging – but perhaps even enjoyable – part of the pitching process.
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