Nathan Gold’s Advice on How to Be a More Compelling Communicator

Aug 27, 2017 | Articles

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Silicon Valley’s best pitch coach, Nathan Gold, explains how you can be more captivating when pitching your business ideas, products or services.

Nathan Gold, a renowned public speaking coach from San Francisco Bay, hosted an informative workshop at Founders Floor where he walked attendees through some of his top tips for being a more memorable communicator.

Here is his advice for entrepreneurs and business owners who are looking to make a lasting impression when they’re meeting with potential investors, business partners or clients.

It all starts with your handshake

One mistake that many people make is wasting people’s time when they first meet them by trying to shove an elevator pitch or story into their brains.

While this can sometimes work, what if you could rather use one simple sentence that will get someone curious about what your business does so that they basically ask you to tell them what you do?

While your big pitch to an angel investor, VC firm or potential client is really important, there is one pitch that many people don’t tend to focus on, the handshake introduction. This seemingly simple introduction can play a leading role in whether or not you’ll actually be able to take your relationship with a potential investor or client to the next level, making it just as important as any other pitch.

The tradition of the handshake dates back to the Roman era when people extended their hands to show that they weren’t armed. Today, the handshake is a social norm and a common communication tool.

When you shake someone’s hand you’re taking the first step to getting someone interested in what you do yet many people tend to take this simple gesture for granted. How you shake someone’s hand and how you introduce yourself is something that every professional and entrepreneur should master. First impressions count!

Next, you’ll probably be asked that all important question, “So what do you do?”

The one mistake that many people make is to be too literal when answering this question.

If you have a really exciting product that has solved a major problem then, by all means, be literal. If not, it’s time to get more creative.

Tips for making a powerful first impression

Nathan Gold outlined 3 steps that you can take to create the best possible first impression when meeting someone for the first time:

1. Approach

How people perceive you when they first meet you matters. If you would like to find out what people think about you, you can’t ask people that you know. Nathan suggests that you should try using a tool such as Amazon Mechanical Turks (MTurk) instead. Start by getting someone to film you walking into the middle of a room. Put this video on Mturk and pay people to give you their first impression of you. These tips can be extremely useful and can help you create a stronger first impression.

2. Handshake

Your handshake shouldn’t be longer than 3 seconds and should be done with confidence to avoid seeming unsure or insecure to the people you’re meeting.

Be aware of cultural differences when it comes to handshakes though as it might differ per country.

3. Attention

Once someone asks you what you do, there are 5 ways that you can grab their attention and get them curious about what you do and how you do it.

  • Value Proposition. A value proposition is something we all need and have. You can create a value proposition by completing this sentence: “We help x do y by doing z.” Fill in the who, what, and how. Keep in mind that you don’t need to fill in the x, y, and z to get people interested. You can always leave out the z in order to get people to ask you a question about how you do something.
  • Simile. A strong simile can help people better understand what you do.  Try and stay away from comparing your brand to popular brands like Uber or Airbnb, rather take the time to think of something else.
  • Analogy. When you come up with a powerful analogy that you can equate yourself to, it can be very powerful for getting people to see the value of what you do.
  • Metaphor. If you’re looking for a way to leave a lasting impression on the people that you meet, create a great metaphor about what you do.
  • Examples. When you want to make it really easy for someone to understand something you’ll generally use an example. Since examples can be a little longer than one sentence though, rather try and use your simile, analogy or metaphor first.

One thing to be careful about is that some similes, metaphors, and analogy can be culturally sensitive so keep this in mind when developing your own.

Learning how to become a better communicator is one worthwhile skill that will continue to make an impact in your business and your professional career.


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