I was coaching women CEOs seeking capital as part of the Million Dollar Women Workshop, led by Julia Pimsleur, a veteran fundraiser, author and CEO who’s been through the trenches and has a wealth of knowledge to share.
When seeking funding, there are many things to prepare. You need to understand your market and be clear about how you’re going to make money—but at the core is your story.
Think about what problem are you solving, and why are you passionate enough to start a business. Get to the root of what is driving you to act. Go deep and get personal.
When I was coaching Julia’s group, a CEO working on closing a round of funding stated that she wasn’t comfortable talking about her personal life. But, once she DID open up and talk about the deeply-felt, highly-personal reasons she started her company—the entire room was completely captivated. You could've heard a pin drop. And in the middle of midtown Manhattan, that's really saying something. The passion was palpable. This my friends, is storyteller Yellowcake Uranium.
But this was a volatile, emotional place, and she expressed understandable concern about “going there.” I advised that she practice telling the story repeatedly, as one must do when pitching. She would then be able to talk about her core beliefs without letting her emotions take over. This is the same advice given to stage actors when they are reaching an emotional place in a scene. It’s great that you’re feeling emotional, but if the audience can’t hear your words, you’re not getting your message across. When telling your story, touch however gently on the personal, nuclear core of your being, but keep it within your control by practicing your delivery out loud. This will escalate your standard, run-of-the-mill story to a powerful DEFCON 1-status, in femtoseconds flat. You’ll touch the core of your audience’s hearts, while also appealing to the logic in their brains.