Master Your Investment Committee Presentation
February 13, 2024
When you present to the investment committee, you want to be successful. But how do you pitch to an investment committee and win?
Whether you are presenting internally to your IC colleagues, or presenting your business to a PE or VC investment committee, you need to be sure your presentation works. Hence these investment committee presentation tips.
Give A Masterful Investment Committee Presentation
Let’s review these essential investor pitch tips in turn. But first….
What is an investment committee pitch?
An investment committee presentation is more than the pitch deck or memorandum.
When we say ‘investment committee presentation’ we mean the investor story, the documents and how you come across in that meeting – the whole package. Every element needs to be right.
1. What’s special about this investment opportunity?
You need to explain what’s different and specific about this opportunity when pitching to an IC. What do I mean by this?
For example: Imagine you are presenting an improved AI algorithm business. What is it about your AI business that makes it special?
- Is it cheaper?
- Does it capture more data?
- Does it give more accurate answers?
- Is it more reliable?
- Does it address a large hungry market?
All of these may be true, but to explain your idea – and get the backing you want – you need to be clear about the one big idea that makes your pitch special.
For example, recently we helped a specialist Australian business that provides identify verification services to banks. This service was powerful because it saved money, saved time, and is scalable. All of these are relevant problems for banks. But we helped our client identify that the most powerful pitch was that this service gave a bank a competitive advantage. This was because the service resulted in a better customer experience. And this was the “killer” difference, not those other benefits.
To transform your pitch to your investment committee, make sure you have decided what makes your idea really special. If you have not identified the magic behind your investment pitch, speak to our team and ask about our Messaging Cracker Programme that will uncover it for you.
2. Why is your idea right for this investment committee?
The second big thing to get right when you pitch investors is knowing why an investor should be interested. You may think an investor wants to make money. But making money is often not enough. After all, there are many ways to make money.
Instead, you want to uncover what else your investor is looking for. For example, What is their risk appetite? How important are ESG concerns to them? Does this investment confer some sort of status by association with other investors?
Because every investor is different, there is no single, cookie-cutter approach to this. So you need to run your investor pitch meetings in a way that you can discover what your investor is really looking for. And when you understand your IC’s motivation, you’ll find it easier to persuade them.
3. Is your investor committee pitch simple enough?
If your pitch to investors is easy to explain, it’s also easy to remember. But creating a simple investor pitch is hard. One challenge when asking for money is to strip back your investment pitch to its bare essentials. If you are too complex you become forgettable.
For example, you should turn the abstract into something concrete. You can do this with metaphor, analogies and examples. For example, When Steve Jobs launched the iPod he talked about “1,000 songs in your pocket”. That was concrete. No MB, no Hz, no bit rates, no hard drives. You can do the same – even with the most obscure complicated investment strategy.
4. Are you relying on PowerPoint at the investment committee?
The fourth thing to get right with your IC pitch is to forget about “giving a PowerPoint presentation”.
Instead, plan your meeting as a meeting of minds. Aim to make your committee feel really comfortable with you – make them so comfortable that they want to meet you again, and again! How do you do that? While you are meeting, share stories about the business; discuss what works and what’s still to do; help them better understand your plans. Like this, you build trust and understanding.
5. Are you credible at the investment committee?
If your business plan has you with ‘just’ a 2% share of a $50bn market in 5 years, you’ll lack credibility. Help us believe. Show (don’t tell) what you have done, what you are doing and what you will do so that we can all have faith in you. This rule also applies to your pitch book: everything you say must be credible and push your story forward.
6. Do you use enough stories at investment committee?
Facts get forgotten; stories get repeated. Turn your pitch into a story. Tell stories within your pitch. Get away from the dull “deep” dive into detail on every page and instead help us understand the big picture. Then you can fill in the details where we need them.
The best investors use stories (e.g. Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett). When you use stories in your investor pitch, you can bring to life complex, hard-to-grasp ideas. Stories help investors understand and stories make it easier for others to talk about you. Uncover your stories and learn how to use stories in your investment committee.
7. Do you use emotion in your IC presentation?
In the logical investment world, it’s easy to forget the critical role that emotions play when making decisions. If your gut says yes, then an investor will feel more comfortable. How do you harness emotions at your investment committee meeting? You can use stories, appeals to greater things and make it personal. For example: does the investment opportunity offer just investment returns, or does it offer security and resilience?
8. Is your idea memorable?
It’s tough to make a memorable investor pitch, especially when presenting to experienced investors.
But being memorable, and standing out is key. A memorable investor pitch is more likely to be talked about and discussed.
We regularly help funds and businesses refine their investment pitch so that it is memorable and therefore more investable. For example, one technique is DON’T BE BORING. If your pitch sounds like everyone else’s, you’ll quickly be forgotten. Instead, intrigue us and appeal to our curiosity. Is there something different about your approach? Get investors thinking (but not too hard) and they are more likely to remember you.
9. Is your committee the centre of attention in your pitch?
When you pitch at IC, what role do you take? And what role does your committee take?
For example, one of the most common complaints we hear from investors is that those pitching haven’t tailored what they’re saying to the people in the room. Typically, investors don’t want to be ‘taken through’ a generic presentation. Your pitch must be tailored for those in the room. For example, you can ask the committee what they’d like to focus on, then base your meeting around that.
However, the most effective IC pitches go one step further. These presentations are based on what you uncover when you research the people on the other side of the table:
- What are their investment goals?
- What are their backgrounds?
- Why might they be interested in this investment?
If your investor committee pitch answers these questions, you’ll have a much greater chance of success.
How do you achieve this? One technique is to ask questions. For example:
- ‘Have you seen this an opportunity like this before?’
- ‘Does that make sense?’
- ‘What are your thoughts on what I’ve shown you so far?’
Of course, adapting your presentation on the fly is not as easy as performing a pre-prepared monologue. It requires that you know your material inside-out. It demands additional preparation and rehearsal. You’ll need a coach to help you get there.
10. Avoid the mistakes others make at investment committee
Good news: because people have been pitching to investors for hundreds of years, the biggest investor pitch mistakes are well known. These are some of the biggest mistakes we regularly see:.
Top mistakes made at investment committee
- Your story is too complicated
- You undersell the opportunity
- You are not transparent about challenges
- Your future trajectory is unclear
- You do not come across as professional enough
- You are not speaking the same language as your colleagues use
- You are selling too hard
- Something feels wrong
1. Is your story too complicated for the investment committee?
If your investment opportunity sounds complicated, it will also sound difficult, risky and unattractive. Because you know your investment, you’ll suffer from the curse of knowledge. It can be tough to put yourself in an investor’s shoes.
What an investor needs is a simple story to share with other people. Your job is to clarify your story so that a the investment committee has a crystal clear picture of the opportunity.
It is very tempting to include more information in your IC presentation, but the more you include the more diluted the important information becomes.
Simplifying is often the hardest part of creating a powerful investment committee presentation. So the best firms use external advisors to simplify their investment story.
2. Are you underselling the opportunity in your investor pitch?
Are you just presenting the information you know about in a dispassionate way? Or are you sharing why you are convinced this in a great opportunity?
Too many people lay out data and information, then fail to tell the compelling story behind the data. But investors don’t buy data. They buy the story, the potential, the thing that makes this investment opportunity different and successful.
You want to get your IC to feel it and believe in the opportunity you are presenting. When they believe in you, they are more likely to invest in you.
3. Are you transparent about the challenges you face?
Every investment opportunity has difficulties.
It’s always tempting to play down your problems. But by downplaying them, it may feel to the investment committee members that you don’t fully understand the opportunity. Worst of all, if you don’t mention challenges and these crop up later, it may look like you are being dishonest or naive.
So, be open about what the problems are, or could be. Discuss how you’re addressing them. If it’s clear that you are good at thinking about the future and planning for uncertainty, you add credibility.
By being open, you can turn weaknesses into strengths.
4. Is your future journey clear enough?
It’s easy to talk about the past. But the value of the investment opportunity lies not in the past but in the future. It helps when you can share a clear vision for what comes next.
Are you facing uncertainties? You can describe this as giving you options. Are you addressing change in the market? You can show how you can adapt to those changes. Have things gone wrong? You can show how resilient you are.
What is important when you present to an investment committee is that you demonstrate that you know how you expect to continue growing and improving.
Your future story should make up most of your investor story. The clearer that future feels to the IC, the more they will believe in what you tell them.
5. Do you look and feel professional enough when presenting to the investment committee?
If you have a high-quality opportunity, you want to be sure your pitch is equally reassuring.
This means more than hiring a good graphic designer. A professional investor pitch involves all elements of your interaction with potential buyers. You want the IC to see an opportunity that gives them a warm, joyous feeling.
If you achieve this, you can feel more confident about getting the results you want.
6. Do you speak the language of the IC?
When we prepare people to pitch to investment committees, we role play extensively so that the presenters feel comfortable flexing their style to match different types of committee members. And we also help people avoid the temptation to ‘give a presentation’. A good investment meeting is a 2-way conversation, with as many questions as answers.
Once you practise this, you’ll look impressive and feel so much more confident.
7. Are you pitching or explaining in your investor presentation?
Few of us like being sold to; but we all like learning something.
Too many investor committee presentation sound like a hard sell, or a 1-way presentation. The best pitches we work on become conversations, seeking out the perfect fit.
What this means in practice is that the presenters become teachers, helping the committee members understand the opportunity. They also demonstrate their curiosity, wanting to know what each member thinks and how they could work together.
This fresh approach to pitching creates a positive feeling and makes it much easier for the investor to know what it will be like working with this management team.
8. Does something not feel right?
This is probably the main reason that investors vote against investing. ‘It does not feel right.’ It isn’t a perfect excuse – but it sums up years of experience in investing.
What can you do to create a better feeling when pitching to the investment committee?
The most practical way to generate a positive feeling is to practise. That means for every IC meeting, every question, every bit of presentation, you try it and improve it. I don’t mean ‘rehearse’ – that is what actors do when they already have a great script. I mean practise like a tennis player, so you continually build your skills to improve what you say and how you say it. You also polish how you look as a team and improve the impact you make with your investor. That’s what we help you do in our coaching sessions.
The best management teams always practise.
How to Pitch Investors
Learn what it takes to create a stand out investor pitch when you pitch at investment committee.
What next for your investment committee pitch?
If you want help to prepare your next investment committee presentation, contact Louise Angus, our client services director. She’d be happy to discuss how we might be able to best support you.
How to improve YOUR investment committee presentation
If your investment committee pitch needs improving, polishing or transforming, give us a call. We’ll be happy to share with you some ideas that have worked for other firms.
We spend every day helping companies perfect their investor presentations. We make it easier for them to convince investors and to win investment. Speak to our client services director Louise Angus today.
About Benjamin Ball Associates
At Benjamin Ball Associates, we help our clients to communicate better. You get presentation coaching for executives.
Over 15+ years the award-winning BBA team has coached thousands of senior executives globally to present powerfully. You get access to a transformational toolbox of presentation skills & techniques to help you become a clear, confident communicator.
We’ll help you create a powerful first impression that hooks and engages your audience immediately, and we’ll transform you to deliver clearly, confidently and with impact.
Speak to Louise on +44 20 7018 0922 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and discuss transforming your speeches, pitches and presentations.
Contact us for a chat about how we can help you with your presenting.
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