Why this ex-Apple executive says you should watch the stomach of potential investors

Businessman holding their stomach

You might think the best thing to be looking at during a pitch to investors is your notes, but ex-Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée disagrees.

Gassée told Business Insider when business founders are pitching to a venture capitalist, the best place to pay attention to is the potential investor’s stomach.

Surprisingly, this is not to determine if they had a large lunch or if they’ve been hitting the gym, but to see when they are about to speak.

According to Gassée, an investor who may want to get a word in around your well-structured pitch will unconsciously shift their posture and stomach muscles.

By paying attention to their stomach, a savvy pitcher can sense when the investor may want to say something and give them that opportunity.

Letting your potential investor get some words in can be invaluable, and might even stop you from rambling on and saying something you didn’t mean to, he says.

But body language expert David Alssema says Gassée’s advice may not be entirely accurate and suggests a few other areas to look at.

“In most meetings, the stomach is going to be quite difficult to see,” Alssema told SmartCompany.

“If you’re standing up, people might change from one foot to another if they have something to say,” he says.

“And if you’ve hit a nerve or said something that displeases them, they might cross their arms or clear their throat frequently.”

Alssema warns pitchers shouldn’t read into body language too much, as it should always be considered in context.

“Make sure you’re receiving multiple signals before you assume anything,” he says.

“A rule for body language is to always read it in threes.”


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