BEP 365 – English for Startups 2: Pitching to Investors

BEP 365 LESSON - English for Startups 2: Pitching in English to Investors

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on pitching in English to investors.

The world of tech startups can be extremely exciting and rewarding. But success is certainly not guaranteed. In fact, 90% of new ventures that don’t attract investors within the first three years will fail. So if your company has made it through the valley of death, and you’re burning through cash but don’t have any revenue, then you’d better make sure you’ve got a great pitch to potential investors.

In just 10 to 20 minutes, you need to convince investors that they should risk their money on you. Or, more accurately, why they should risk their money on you instead of on the thousands of other companies they could invest in. It’s hard to think of a higher stakes presentation than a pitch to investors. So what will increase your chances of success?

Well, you need to talk about the problem that your product solves, and how your product is truly unique. Of course, in the startup world, timing is everything. So you need to be able to show there’s a market for what you’re offering. And a good startup isn’t just about a good idea, it’s about a solid revenue model. So you’ll need to explain that clearly. It’s also smart to sit down and think about what questions investors might have, and answer them before they have to ask them!

In today’s dialog, we’ll listen to a presentation by Quinn, who founded an online payments company called Moolah. In our last lesson, we heard Quinn preparing for his pitch with the help of a mentor. Now it’s showtime, as Quinn delivers his pitch in the hopes of attracting investment.

Listening Questions

1. What is the problem that Quinn identifies at the start of his presentation?
2. Who is Moolah’s target audience?
3. What question does Quinn anticipate the investors might have?

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Skills 360 – Making your Ideas Stick (Part 2)

Business English Skills 360 Lesson - Making your Ideas Stick 2

Welcome back to the Business English Skills 360 for today’s lesson on making your ideas stick.

Have you ever been in a meeting or listened to a presentation where someone talks about their big idea? And then, forty PowerPoint slides later, you’re still not quite sure what they’re talking about, or why their idea is so great? Well, there might be a good idea somewhere behind it all, but for some reason it didn’t stick.

On the flip side, there are ideas that you couldn’t forget if you wanted to. For whatever reason, people understand them, they remember them, and they get behind them.

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Skills 360 – Making your Ideas Stick (Part 1)

Business English Skills 360 Lesson - Making your Ideas Stick 1

Welcome back to the Business English Skills 360 for today’s lesson on how you can make your ideas stick.

Let’s face it: ideas are a dime a dozen. And just having a great idea doesn’t mean a thing if you can’t get other people to believe in it. And before you can get anyone to believe in it, you need to help them remember it. You need to make it stick. So today I want to share a couple of tips for helping your ideas stick. It doesn’t matter if you’re giving a presentation, proposing something in a meeting, or pitching to investors. The secrets to stickiness are the same.

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BEP 20c – Presenting a Cohesive Argument

BEP 20c - Business English Lesson: Presenting a Cohesive Argument

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s business English lesson on presenting a cohesive argument.

You may have lots of great ideas. But those ideas aren’t worth much if you can’t convince other people that they’re great. And that takes more than just excitement and energy. To convince others, you need to present a cohesive argument.

So what is a cohesive argument? Well, it’s a series of logical reasons to support an idea. A cohesive argument helps you convince others of your position by providing a set of supporting points presented in a logical manner. If you do not provide a cohesive argument, then you’ll have trouble getting other people to support you.

A good argument might start by showing research and giving some context for the issue. Then you can talk about precedents for your idea, which means other times that it has been done successfully. It’s also good to think about what people might be concerned about, and address that before they even have a chance to bring it up. And finally, you can tell people why your idea is necessary. With a cohesive argument like this, you’re sure to have more support for your idea.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Jack, who’s presenting a proposal to move his company’s production to Costa Rica. In our last lesson, we heard Jack and several others discussing the idea. Jack’s argument was a bit disorganized and drew criticism from the others. He didn’t manage to convince them that moving production overseas was a good idea. In this meeting, the team has to make a decision on the issue. So Jack really needs to present a good argument.

Listening Questions

1. What has Jack done in preparation for the meeting?
2. Why does Jack mention the company Intel?
3. Jack talks about one thing that other people might be concerned, or worried about. What is it?

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BEP 19c – Arguing For or Against a Position

BEP 19c - Arguing For or Against a Position

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on how to argue for a position.

A position could be an opinion, an idea, or a plan. And whether you’re in a meeting, a one-on-one discussion, or a presentation, you’ll often find yourself arguing for your position, or against other people’s positions.

So how can you argue for or against a position effectively? Sure, you can just state what you think. But there are some more effective techniques you can use to support your position. For example, you can use language to make an idea stronger. Instead of just saying “this plan is disorganized,” you can say “this plan is totally disorganized.” That has a greater impact.

You can also work the other way around, and use softening and minimizing language. For example, instead of saying “we are happy with the new building but there are some problems,” you might say “overall we’re pretty happy with the new building, but there might be a few problems.” And if you want to criticize someone’s ideas, you need to introduce that carefully and balance the criticism with praise. All these techniques will help you present your position.

In today’s dialog, we’ll hear Jack, who’s trying to argue for the idea of moving his company’s production overseas, to Costa Rica. However, Angie, Dan, and Jim are not convinced that Jack’s plan is a good idea. As they argue for their positions, we’ll cover some useful techniques on both sides of the discussion.

Listening Questions

1. How does Angie introduce her first criticism of Jack’s ideas?
2. What does Jack say about the risks involved in his plan?
3. What positive thing does Angie say about Jack later in the dialog?

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