For the last several years YPO (Young President’s Organization) has held a “Raising Capital Conference” to teach entrepreneurs and CEOs who want to raise venture capital how to make successful pitches to investors. They firmly believe that if you improve your presentation skills, you will increase your chances of getting investors to say ‘yes.’

Your pitch can be a powerful force in securing the investment you need. And while your business plan is a component, your presentation can be the deciding factor. Typically, venture capitalists invest in only 1 out of 100 companies that request funding.

What do you need to do to improve your presentation skills? Time, patience and practice are essential. Take the time to fine-tune your presentation so you can articulate what matters most, and keep it short. It takes time to learn about your audience. It takes time to have the facts and figures they want to hear. It takes patience to learn the elements of a successful presentation – energy, eye contact, pace, clarity of the message, etc. – and how to incorporate them into your pitch. And it takes practice, and more practice. Practice ensures that you know what you want to say and allows ‘you’ to come through. Instead of thinking What am I supposed to say next?, you know what to say, allowing you to be engaging, passionate and even bold.

If you want to raise capital, you have to impress the venture capitalists. In order to impress them, your pitch has to stand out above your competitors’. Take the time to improve your presentation skills so you will be the 1 out of 100 that receives funding.