The secret to helping VCs remember your startup after the meeting

When you look at the numbers, the average venture firm will meet face to face with at least 500 different startups in order to find the 10 they invest in every year. That’s a lot of coffee. With all these meetings, how can a startup founder increase their chances of being remembered a few days later at the weekly partner meeting?

How can startup founders tap into the long term memory of their audience?

Many startup founders may think that their amazing traction statistics will do the trick. They are wrong.

As Maya Angelou once said: “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

The numbers are important, no one will invest in a company that doesn’t have the fundamentals right. However, most humans forget numbers pretty fast.

The key to getting that person in the fleece vest to remember your traction is to link the number to an emotion.

According to the science, emotions evolved to help flag experiences in the brain. Emotions are fundamental to memory, and act as beacons for our brains to retrieve data quickly. They attach to memories in the brain to improve the recall of experiences that may help us survive or be relevant to our long term viability.

Tying an emotional response in your listener to the problem your startup is trying to solve, or the success you are gaining in the marketplace is the surefire approach to increasing the likelihood they will remember you days or weeks later.

Remember that old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? We all know that’s not really true. Researchers at University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf found that emotional stimulus will improve a persons longer term recall for up to a year.

So, what are the practical applications? When I coach startups on their messaging, I try to help them attach the key metrics of their business to a human story. Lets look at an example:

There are 148,000 new tech startups founded every month around the world.

That’s a great number, but your listener is going to forget it as soon as they walk out the room. Instead, what if we said something like:

Every time a baby is born in Amsterdam, a new tech startup is created.

That small change, will lock the size and scale of your market into the listeners memory. In fact, it is very possible that your listener is going to start using that little fact in their future conversations. And every time they do, they will be thinking about you and your startup. Boom.

You have probably heard a thousand times that a great way to start a presentation is by outlining the problem you are trying to solve. This is true, but not for the reason you might think! If you can frame the problem you are solving in a human way, something that can tie a feeling to the problem, the listener is far more likely to remember that you are the person solving that problem. Think of the power this can have in the sales process!

The key to long term memory recall for humans is our ability to attach an emotion to the data or experience. As startup founders, this simple skill will turn your story into one that investors, potential customers and the media will remember.

If you are looking for other ideas like this, or a framework to help startup founders talk to humans, check out (C)lean Messaging.