Explain This to Me Like I’m a Two-Year-Old

Some advice to fund managers: If you cannot explain what you do — if you find it impossible not to use technical terms to describe your job — then your results, no matter how great or consistent they are, will not be powerful enough to attract new investors — because people buy what they know, they invest in what they understand, and they encourage others to do likewise.

If, in other words, you cannot explain this — and by this, I mean what you do — like your listener is a two-year-old, then you will fail.

Just ask yourself the following questions:

If you were a doctor, and had a pill that cured cancer, would your patients take it without regard to its side effects or potentially lethal consequences?

If you were an economist, and had an equation that predicted how certain stocks would perform, would your peers accept your theory without testing it?

If you were a civil engineer, and had blueprints for the construction of the country’s longest suspension bridge, would commuters traverse it without your work having passed safety rules and complied with building standards?

Then why would you expect individuals to give you their money — why would you presume that people would even know how to contact you — so they can invest in your fund?

For, unless you can explain this to a prospect like he or she is a two-year-old, you may soon find yourself acting like a child of the same age: Tempestuous and prone to tantrums, an angry creature quick to overreact and slow to soothe himself to sleep.

In comparison, the doctor says, “I will make you well”; while the economist says, “I will make you wealthy”; as the engineer concludes by saying, “I will make it easy for you to cross the river.”

Now, if you are not a natural involving what you say — and if you require the help of an investor relations expert concerning when and how to say something — seize the assistance you need — now!

Remember, explain this to me like I’m a two-year-old.

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