By John Fayad – A writer, speaker, and coach on gender relations, John works with Fortune 500 companies across the globe providing keynotes, seminars, workshops, and individual coaching for career success.
This article shares some insights into what my partner Anne Ravanona, CEO of Global Invest Her and I cover in our “Own the Moment” – How to Pitch to Male Investors webinar, for Women Entrepreneurs. Part one in the series.
Gender Differences Matter in the Pitch Environment
It’s undeniable that sex differences in brain structure and chemistry form distinct patterns in the ways men and women think and act. Researchers have documented these distinctions as early as in newborns in neonatal intensive care units—well before any cultural influence.
Our sex chromosomes define our gender tendencies in deeper and more global ways than family upbringing, education, and culture ever could. This is not to say that all men behave one way and all women another. This is to say though that, from the start, we are not designed to be the same.
Advancements in imaging technology have enabled us to peer deeper into the brain that ever before and unveil the roots of our behavior. It may even explain the design of many of the practices that make up our business structures today.
Why the 10-Minute Pitch Works Better for Men
Male entrepreneurs and male investors are very comfortable with the business environment and its rules of engagement, the foundations of which go back millions of years. From the standpoint of survival, males were driven to the hunt and to act quickly and decisively. It was either that or starve to death—or become the main course themselves. Those instincts structured the industrial revolution over 200 years ago and we’re still using many of them in our business practices today.
It’s all a matter of degrees and not black and white, but they are predominant tendencies in men and women worth knowing, and particular tendencies in men that tend to show up in competitive environments.
Here are just a few examples of how our different physiologies can impact the different ways in which men and women communicate. This may shed some light on why 10 minutes works so well for men:
● Men tend to interact better in short spurts, and then disengage. I know, there’s a funny component to that, but it’s true in many ways. Business collaborations between and among men are more about calibration and action than examining and discussing an issue.
● Too much conversation can make many men’s stress levels rise, while conversation often tends to reduce women’s stress. Though males and females have the same hormones, the proportions that show up to cope with a situation can be very different.
● Men often speak directly and with as few words as possible, which is also why 10 minutes tends to work fine from a judging standpoint: Male investors prefer short and concise explanations for why A then B with outcome C.
● For men, a business interaction is most often purely transactional with less interest in a personal exchange. That helps keep everything simple and uncomplicated, with little emotional involvement.
These distinct male behaviors in the pitch environment are not necessarily learned behaviors. They’re more instinctive, biological, and often unconscious. So it can become a competitive advantage for a women founder to know what a male investor may be thinking and what the possible reasons are for his behavior as he reacts to her pitch.
A Couple of Tips for Women pitching to Male Investors
I suggest you pitch to the male tendency. Pitch in a style that is potentially more conversant to the male investor. I’m not asking women to change their behavior or become more man-like. I am suggesting you structure your conversation and presentation of yourself so that you can make a connection in the investor’s mind that is more advantageous for you.
When you’re pitching:
● Stay focused on three or four key points. Don’t over-explain things or offer apologies or admissions. It may be therapeutic for you but potentially defocusing and stressful for the male investor. And the manner in which men often deal with stress is to tune out. You don’t want him tuning out when you’re on stage.
● Make it easy for the investor to grasp quickly your vision and your plan. Keep it simple and focused: If A, then B, with outcome C. You want to get into “The Tunnel”, an important insight we will share during our webinar.
Take It Further
Join our next Own the Moment webinar to learn more about the science behind our gender differences and how male investors and women entrepreneurs think and act and why. My colleague, Anne Ravanona, CEO of Global Invest Her, and I share more key tips on how to apply your learnings to help you succeed in your next pitch. Gain access to the Own the Moment Toolkit and be a part of our Closed Facebook Group to expand the learning and continue the conversation.
Instead of dreading your next pitch, Own the Moment!