Founders, Their Startups and (the lack of) Storytelling

At one point or another, every founder has received the “just focus on traction” advice. And it’s good advice. The problem is that very few founders are also told to learn to “tell a good story” as well. For most people,communication isn’t something you’re born with but it is something you can learn.When I’m coaching founders on their pitch, I spend the time a little something like this:

  • 1/2 time is coaching content (traction, vision, sexy graphs, etc)
  • 1/2 time is coaching communication (verbal, body language, etc)
  • If there’s any time left, we’ll work on perfecting the ask.

Building something that people use is no longer good enough — in fact, building something people want is simply table stakes at this point. If you truly want to differentiate yourself when talking to other founders, press or even new hires, learn to communicate. (Quora, as usual, has some useful discussions and tips on public speaking. For practical examples, slides and videos from 500 Startups demo days are online as well.)