Practice Makes Perfect.

Finding the best way often means trying all the worst ways.

No matter what idea you are working on, you’re going to have to sell it.

Whether it’s getting a venture capitalist to invest a million dollars, convincing a key hire to come on board, crushing that interview with the New York Times, or just explaining to your parents why you’re dropping out of school to pursue your dream…you need to be able to do it confidently, comfortably, and persuasively.

And there’s only one way to be great at it. You’ve got to practice. A lot.

At a minimum, you need to be able to talk fluently about what you’re doing. And I don’t mean in a scripted pitch—you need to break apart each aspect of what’s important into “nuggets,” and have each nugget be fluent and comfortable.

The idea. The market. The problem. The solution. The traction. The use of funds. The team.  

Unless you’re on Shark Tank, you won’t be delivering a rehearsed presentation—you have to make it sound like it’s coming off the top of your head. Like you really know your stuff.  

This ability only comes from being intimately familiar with each of those little nuggets. It’s not enough to memorize an answer; you need to know the essence of it—the why, how, and who, in addition to the what. 

Then practice. Learn how to describe each aspect in multiple ways. Know which way’s best because you already tried all the worst ways.

Next, make a list of the 15 or 20 questions you’re most likely to get, and map each to one of your prepared nuggets. Or if you can’t, come up with a new nugget that addresses it. Then iterate. After every pitch you give or meeting you take, review your list of questions, and craft new nuggets as needed. After four or five meetings, you’ll have heard pretty much every question that you’re going to.

Is all this a lot of work? Yes. But it’s the best way to sound like you really know your stuff. Even if someone’s only partially interested in your specific answers, they’ll be fully interested in whether you are in command of the situation. It’s what they’ll remember long after they’ve forgotten your TAM or your acquisition costs.



Many ideas in this post were first discussed in the Neverland entrepreneurial community. Join us there!

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