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Written By: Marc Halpin


This quarter I am on track to meet more Founders and hear more pitches than any other quarter in my entire life.

It is, of course, a great privilege to hear the plans and dreams of so many talented people. It is also fascinating to see how differently people approach what is typically a 30-minute zoom meeting. 

Here’s what’s becoming super interesting to me. I’ve been reflecting on the fact that my demeanor changes from meeting to meeting based not on what’s being pitched, but on how the Founder is managing the pitch. The best Founders compel me to be a cheerleader for them.

To be clear here, I am not talking about the product or the business idea. I am talking about the Founder and his or her ‘engagement superpower’.

So how do you develop this type of superpower in a pitch? Well, let’s ask Warren – he’ll know!

In his office in downtown Omaha, Warren Buffett displays only one certificate. It isn’t for his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska, or his Master of Science in economics from Columbia Business School. It is for completing the ‘Dale Carnegie Course in Effective Speaking, Leadership Training, and the Art of Winning Friends and Influencing People’ dated January 23, 1952.

Carnegie’s influence, as Buffett admits, was profound. He read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People when he was 15. Carnegie and Buffett seem to speak a similar, straight-forward kind of language.

In Carnegie’s book under the section ‘Six ways to make people like you’, he writes about these rules.

Rule 1:  Become genuinely interested in other people.

Rule 2:  Smile.

Rule 3:  Remembering a person’s name to him or her is the sweetest sound.

Rule 4:  Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Rule 5:  Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.

Rule 6:  Make the other person feel important— and do it sincerely.

If there were ever rules to master in pitching, could these be the six? From my perspective, I’m seeing the best Founders do these things every day and trust me – it works. 

If you want to read one book that will help you pitch better and raise that $3M seed round, maybe think about grabbing a copy of this classic here.

I believe you will get a good return on your $10.40 investment.

Kerosene Ventures – Helping Great Founders Raise Capital