Don't lose track of time, be late, or get caught up in small talk.
Don't be rigid.
Don't pass the buck.
Don't be afraid to show vulnerability.
Steve Jurvetson is a managing partner at the Menlo Park, California–based venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which has backed companies including Skype, Tesla Motors, Synthetic Genomics, and Hotmail. He and colleague Marta Bulaich have met with hundreds of entrepreneurs. One tip he shares is: Practice your presentation with your grandmother, children, anyone unfamiliar with the space, and see if they can understand what you’re doing. "Not every VC will have expertise in your area, and you need to be able to convey your value proposition at a comprehensible level," Jurvetson says.
It just subtracts from your precious presentation time. And turn off your cell phone—it's distracting, and likely most distracting to you, Jurvetson says.
VCs often pepper entrepreneurs with questions that take them by surprise or get ahead of the presentation flow. Be nimble enough to drift from the script. "I'll get to that in 10 slides" is a frustrating answer.
Understand your data. Avoid the "I'm not sure how we got those numbers—our CFO did them, and he's not here" situation.
Omitting or discounting competitors undermines your credibility. If you can admit areas of concern, if you acknowledge a potential challenge, your strengths will be all the more compelling, Jurvetson says.