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Secrets to presenting your great idea

At some point, that great idea of yours must come out of hiding. If you're ever going to get it to market, you must communicate your idea to others who can help you. It may be a manufacturer who will make your product, it may be investors who will finance it for you or it may be potential buyers. Whoever it is, it's crucial that you have a well-thought-out presentation that quickly communicates your idea, grabs your listeners' attention, and excites them enough to want to take part in your plans.

Your presentation can be made two ways: in writing or verbally. It's important to have both types of presentations prepared and ready at a moment's notice. What if you're at a networking event and you realize the person you're speaking with might be a potential investor? If you've taken the time to prepare an oral presentation, you can take advantage of an unexpected opportunity to make a pitch. Or if a friend knows someone who can help you, a formal written proposal that's ready to be delivered overnight can provide an instant presentation of your idea while it's still fresh in the prospect's mind.

The old adage that you only get one chance to make a first impression rings particularly true with ideas. It's almost impossible to change the mind of someone who's already formed a bad impression of your idea. Many times you only get one chance to impress an important contact. A well-prepared pitch lets you take maximum advantage of the situation.

Tomima Edmark is the inventor of the TopsyTail and several other products and is author of The American Dream Fact Pack ($49.95), available by calling (800) 558-6779. Questions regarding inventions and patents may be sent to "Bright Ideas," Entrepreneur, 2392 Morse Ave., Irvine, CA 92614.

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This article was originally published in the July 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Now Showing.

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