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Archive for the ‘Community Building’ Category

Be Interesting

Posted on: January 5th, 2017 | by Bill Kenney

LLV Demo Day 130626If you want somebody to be interested in you then you need to be interesting. Ecosystems and event organizers all around the world are hosting events to attract investors for local ventures. While this is an admirable endeavor it is creating significant marketplace inefficiencies.

What are investors interested in? To generalize, investors are interested in minimizing risk and maximizing return. Yet the events that they are PULLED to have only a small minority of ventures that are investable. This isn’t to say that these are bad ventures. Many are fine potential businesses but most will not grow fast enough or to a significant enough size to give an investor a reasonable return on their capital.

What then makes a venture interesting? What helps de-risk an investment? What will make investors PUSH to be included in your events and community? The answer is simple…ventures with CUSTOMERS!

This is just a quick sample of one of the topics that we’ll be talking about in the January 19 webinar The Entrepreneur Communities Crazy Focus on Investment vs. Customers. Learn more and join us here.

Avoiding Onboarding Obstacles: Ramp Up Success Quickly

Posted on: October 17th, 2016 | by tmpadmin

Avoiding Onboarding Obstacles

Ramp Up Success Quickly

Learn the secrets of high-functioning organizations

Date: Thursday, November 10, 2016
Time: Noon – 1:00PM (EDT)

New performers launch without skills and performance lags. Managers time gets hijacked and isn’t well leveraged. New team members are unintentionally set up to fail. There is limited visibility to Individual potential. Little alignment exists between participant start date and training cycle. Results vary by location and manager. Successful onboarding learning isn’t leveraged for future candidates.

Join us for this fast moving and highly informative workshop that will help you jumpstart results from new performers.

This workshop will help you improve your new team member:

  • Selection
  • Training
  • Measurement
  • Accountability
  • Continual development

Eliminate the frustrations and costs of ineffective onboarding. Join us on Thursday, November 10 for this groundbreaking webinar.

Space is limited. Enroll today.

Criteria Conundrum: Developing Your Ultimate Pitch Evaluation Rubric

Posted on: August 25th, 2016 | by Bill Kenney

Learn the secrets of high-functioning ecosystems

Watch the webinar recording!

Date: Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Time: Noon – 1:00PM (EDT)

  • Do your judges and mentors misapply your criteria?
  • Would you like more informative and reliable results?
  • Are you challenged to pick the best teams or ventures?
  • Do your final scores inform and educate appropriately?
  • Would you like better judge and team orientation?

Join us for this fast moving and highly informative workshop that will help you create the best possible criteria and judging system for your purpose.

Poor criteria and judge orientation compromises the reliability of pitch event results. When results are reliable participants have reference points to model and improve performance quickly. Learn how with a few simple tips you can create IMPACT and exceptional FEEDBACK for your entrepreneurs!

This workshop will help you:

  • Understand the common challenges and critical success factors
  • Create the remedies that are right for your system
  • Learn what to prioritize and how to do it
  • Develop the best rubric for your needs
  • Select and orient judges appropriately

All participants will receive the Score My Pitch – Criteria Development Worksheet to build your ultimate criteria

Over the last three years, our team has been visiting, interviewing and serving universities and entrepreneurship ecosystems all around the world. We’ve been to more than 500 pitch events and demo days in that time. We’d like to share with you some of the learning and best practices that we are gaining through this experience.

Join us for this action packed and interactive session.

We limit these webinars to 50 participants, so register now to reserve your spot.

10 Unintended Consequences of Bad Evaluation Criteria

Posted on: August 21st, 2016 | by Bill Kenney

LLV Demo Day 130626Organizations use evaluation criteria in many ways. When the criteria are inadequate a variety of unintended consequences occurs. Here’s our top 10 list of things that go wrong with bad evaluation criteria.LLV Demo Day 130626

  • Bad decisions are made
  • The wrong people and ideas are recognized
  • The wrong entrants are modeled
  • The wrong behaviors and activities are reinforced
  • Educational value is lost
  • Participants are disenfranchised
  • The community is misinformed
  • Future participants disengage
  • Judges wisdom isn’t leveraged
  • Participants chose the wrong path and perform the wrong activities

Evaluation criteria affect much more than most of us would image. Making sure that the appropriate criteria are used is fundamental to a successful program.

Would you like to learn more about developing effective criteria? If so, then join us for the Criteria Conundrum: Developing Your Ultimate Pitch Evaluation Rubric webinar on Tuesday, August 23 at Noon eastern time. Follow this link for more details and to register.

About

Score My Pitch is a pitch event judging and feedback system. Harness the wisdom and potential energy in your community. Produce reliable results. Share contextual and actionable feedback. Watch the video.

Ask us how we can help you successfully democratize pitch event results in your community. Email or call Bill Kenney today at bkenney@testmypitch.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Practice, It’s Not Just for Olympians

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 | by tmpadmin

Lavern practice

With the Olympics in “full on” mode at the moment, a post about practice seems like a perfect topic. Bobby Knight, the one-time Olympic basketball coach from Indiana University said “The key is not the “will to win” . . . everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”

Imagine if your professionals, students or entrepreneurs could execute their communication like a gold medal winning Olympic athlete competes in their event. How much better would your team perform? Imagine if they could articulate a podium worthy value proposition, class presentation or venture pitch. Imagine if they could connect with the audience and compel them to action. Would they sell more? Would they get better grades or a better career path? Would they raise more money?

Indeed champion athletes and award-winning performance artists embrace volumes of focused practice to assure peak performance. While the numbers vary considerably by sport and art form, athletes and performing artists practice somewhere between 2-50 times more than they play in actual games or perform shows. They train physically and mentally, they do dress rehearsals and walkthroughs and they focus on specific skills some days and the entire game or performance others.

Practice is safe and collegial. Practice might also be competitive to replicate a game environment or opening night performance. The championship is not won in practice, but it can be lost by how we practice. Practice helps individuals evolve from conscious competence to unconscious competence. The best practices see performers stretching beyond their current skill set to manifest higher levels of ability.

Watch this brief video where Michael Jordan shares his thoughts on the importance of practice.

Athletes and artists who don’t practice, don’t play. Practices are mandatory and integrated into the performance process. Practice is not only a base requirement, it is essential to maintaining and evolving skills. The emphasis on practice doesn’t stop when athletes and performers move from junior levels to the Olympics or professional ranks. In fact, practices get longer, harder and more sophisticated as performers mature towards their peak. Specialized coaches, trainers and consultants are hired to maximize performance at the top levels.

So here are a couple of challenge questions, if your team isn’t prepared and communicating at a gold medal level:

  • What’s your team’s practice to performance ratio? Remember top athletes and artists practice 2 to 50 times more than they play and perform.
  • Do you have a method to diagnose each individual’s skill and performance gaps? Left to our own devices, most of us will practice our strengths and ignore our weaknesses. Identifying and overcoming deficiencies is where major performance leaps occur.
  • Are you providing good benchmarks and references? While each individual understanding their performance and growth opportunities is important, this information is abstract. Seeing their performance in comparison to peers and past performers creates even better reference points. Sometimes it is hard to improve until you know what better looks like.

As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Greatness then is not an act, but a habit”.

About
Test My Pitch – Private communication skill development platform. Think Toastmasters online. Engage, empower and accelerate your communities communication confidence and competence.

Ask us how we can help you improve your team’s success through practice. Email or call Bill Kenney today at bkenney@testmypitch.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

A Conversation with Greg Coticchia from the U Pitt Blast Furnace Accelerator

Posted on: July 29th, 2016 | by tmpadmin

We recently had a chance to visit with Greg Coticchia, Director of the University of Pittsburgh’s startup accelerator, the Blast Furnace. In this wide-ranging discussion, we learned about Greg, the Blast Furnace and the “Pitt” Innovation Institute. We also learned about some of the big objectives on the horizon for the Blast Furnace. Greg also shared with us what caused them to adopt Score My Pitch and how it has impacted their program.

Please have a listen. Greg is doing some great work and making quite an impact on student and university success.

About
Score My Pitch is a pitch event judging and feedback system. Harness the wisdom and potential energy in your community. Produce reliable results. Share contextual and actionable feedback. Watch the video. Ask us how we can help you engage and empower your community. Email or call Bill Kenney today at bkenney@testmypitch.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Business Plan Competitions are Broken…and What to Do About It!

Posted on: July 27th, 2016 | by tmpadmin

Learn What the Best Organizers are Doing

Watch the webinar recording!

Date: Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Time: Noon – 1:00PM (ET)

  • Is the idea of a business plan outdated?
  • Why do we struggle to attract participants?
  • How do we build a diverse program?
  • How do we create the learning and impact we intend?
  • What model makes the most sense for your program?

Join us for this fast moving and highly informative workshop that will help you improve the engagement and results from your business plan competitions.

 

Business plan (or business model) competitions are fantastic vehicles to introduce the power of entrepreneurship to students, faculty and administration. These programs have the potential to engage students and faculty from every department while at the same time drawing in and re-engaging valuable alumni.

 

Whether you are considering your 1st or planning your 100th business plan competition this workshop will help you:

  • Understand the common challenges and critical success factors

  • Select the model that is best for you and your audience

  • Align the content and format with your institution’s objectives

  • Develop the right event mix for a robust program

  • Choose between business plan and business model canvas methodologies

  • Learn how to engage administration, faculty and students

  • Assure diverse, cross-functional, multi-disciplined teams are formed

  • Build and implement a powerful and sustainable learning model

  • Measure progress and outcomes

Over the last two years our team has been visiting, interviewing and serving universities and entrepreneurship ecosystems all around the world. We’ve been to more than 200 pitch events and demo days in that time. We’d like to share with you some of the learning and best practices that we are gaining through this experience.

It’s Time to Rip Off the Band-Aid and Share Results: Here are 6 Reasons Why!

Posted on: July 8th, 2016 | by Bill Kenney

We talk to organizations every day who are concerned about sharing the results from their pitch events and demo days. Their concerns range from uncertainty of result validity and judging to concerns about inadvertently discouraging the students, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs in their charge.

From serving, partnering and associating with thousands of organizers over the last few years, we’ve learned that democratizing results is one of the biggest keys to building community, accelerating your current cohort and improving the starting point and trajectory of future cohorts.

Here are our 6 reasons why it’s imperative that you democratize your pitch event and demo day results starting today!

  1. Participants need to learn how to internalize and action feedback – Customers, investors, strategic partners and employees will not shelter your teams from critical feedback. The best time for your teams to learn how to listen, ask questions and appropriately respond to feedback is when they’re with you. This is a lot like how artists gain from critiquing. They learn how to listen and evolve in safe and collegial environments. It is much better to be “wrong” when a sale or investment is not on the line. Beware of coddling.
  2. Referential learning – While seeing your individual scores and feedback may be helpful, it is abstract. Seeing your scores and feedback in relation to your peer group adds significant context and allows high speed leapfrogging. This context allows participants to model better performers, benchmark relative change and resource those who are moving fastest.
  3. Start ahead – Yes, it’s really amazing that each wave of new participants is asked to start at the absolute beginning. They gain nothing from the previous generations of participants. Democratizing results allows the community, including all future participants, to learn from and stand on the shoulders of previous participants. This also helps take the mystery out of the program, which better engages future participants and allows them to onboard more prepared for success. Competitive runners use democratized results from previous versions of events they will compete in to know how to train, identify training partners and fully commit to events.
  4. Program transparency – Nothing creates judging or process suspicion quicker than cloaking results. Transparency also assures that any weaknesses in the judging processes are found out and corrected quickly. Community trust and integrity are founded on transparency.
  5. All feedback is perfect – While there are some improvements that can be made in most judging processes to improve the utility and utilization feedback, the biggest opportunity is for organizers and participants is to learn that all feedback is perfect. Feedback is somebody’s opinion based on their frame of reference. Anyone sharing their opinion is taking a risk. They do so with an earnest interest in providing valuable insight. Participants need orientation and training before getting feedback. Honoring and respecting all feedback assures a steady pipeline of valuable input.
  6. Do it today, delay is expensive – Waiting only prolongs the work you’ll have to do to shift your culture. With every passing day that results are not democratized, your community and current participants are losing value and potential energy. It’s up to you to break these antiquated Darwinian traditions and propel your community to new heights.

According to performance expert, Lisa Marshall (lisabmarshall.com) “Feedback from others is the fastest way to improve. It’s how we learn and excel. Feedback motivates us and helps us to make course corrections. It’s critically important to understand that the MAIN idea behind feedback is to MOTIVATE behavior.”

Amplify learning, growth and engagement by democratizing your results today.

About
Score My Pitch is a pitch event judging and feedback system. Harness the wisdom and potential energy in your community. Produce reliable results. Share contextual and actionable feedback. Watch the video.

Ask us how we can help you successfully democratize pitch event results in your community. Email or call Bill Kenney today at bkenney@testmypitch.com or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Questions to date for – Building Community: How to Diversify Beyond the Usual Suspects

Posted on: June 14th, 2016 | by tmpadmin

Here’s a quick highlight of participant questions that have been posed so far for the June 23, 2016 webinar – Building Community: How to Diversify Beyond the Usual Suspects. For more details or to register click here.

The question we posed:
What questions or challenges do you have related to improving your community engagement, size, quality and/or diversity?

The questions our participants have asked:

  • Tell me all your secrets!
  • How to engage the community?
  • How to generate better event attendance
  • We’re working to improve community engagement with demographic groups that aren’t necessarily part of our community. How do we gain their trust?
  • Increasing engagement opportunities, getting sponsors for events are key challenges.
  • What does a typical plan look like for building out diversity in a community, and how long is the process of building these relationships?
  • We have an alumni community that grows naturally, and that is naturally diverse in terms of size and industry, but we have difficulty driving engagement in our online space as well as event attendance.
  • Seeking tips on how to foster diversity genuine, authentic way for a large-scale local community event.
  • How do we grow and scale our community as well as improve outcomes?

  • We struggle with the balance of our events. By having such a diverse group of members it is difficult to cater to all of their stages, industries and relevant needs. How do you provide consistently relevant yet enticing content without over-saturating your entrepreneurs with too many events?

  • How to reach into the “corners” of the community and cross network boundaries?

  • How do you sustain online engagement?

  • How do I encourage beneficiaries to become active participants in the community? (Moving them beyond free rider status)

  • How do you build diversification of event participants?

  • How do I create better attendance?

  • I’m the Executive Producer of an annual entrepreneurship festival that engages 10,000+ individuals each year. We’ve been great at scale but have struggled with diversity, despite our best intentions. What are the drivers to increase diverse attendance? And how do you make diversity an organizational priority that each employee connects with?
  • How to reach outside of your pre-existing bubble?
  • I HAVE NOT FULLY ENGAGED MY COMMUNITY
  • Building on successful initial start. Maintaining energy and building program locally and across multiple locations.
  • Space and cost
  • How to engage more volunteers so we avoid current volunteer fatigue?

Questions to date for – Mentor Magic: Overcome Common Mentor Program Challenges!

Posted on: May 23rd, 2016 | by tmpadmin

Here’s a quick highlight of participant questions that have already been posed so far for the May 26, 2016 webinar – Mentor Magic: Overcome Common Mentor Program Challenges!. For more details or to register click here.

The question we posed:
What questions or challenges do you have related to developing an effective mentor program for your organization?

ATTRACT, TRAIN & RETAIN

  • How do you recruit quality mentors?
  • How do you attract the mentors you need Vs the ones who volunteer?
  • How do you handle attrition?
  • How to keep volunteer mentors engaged?
  • How do we communicate efficiently and receive responses from mentors?
  • How can we create value for mentors in terms of training and keeping them up to date with the latest news from the startup world?
  • How do we connect mentors with helpful resources?

GETTING STARTED

  • How do you get started in building a mentor program?
  • How are mentors and mentor networks managed in schools, via an individual school or centrally within the university?

MENTEES

  • How do we mentor match with a good fit for the mentor and the mentee based on personality and skills, etc?
  • How do you handle scheduling meetings between mentors/mentees?
  • How do you keep the start up people motivated to learn more and get out and talk to people, customer discovery?
  • Who actually pairs the mentors/mentees?
  • How can a mentor help with the success development of a startup?
  • How much interaction does mentor program director need to have with individual mentor/mentee relationship?

MANAGE, MEASURE & TOOLS

  • We´re a mentor network in Venezuela, I want to learn about methods to develop, execute and control the program
  • How do you maintain consistent quality among the mentor community?
  • How do you handle mentors are not doing their role effectively?
  • How do you hold mentors accountable when they are volunteering their time?
  • Regarding capacity, how much oversight is needed to facilitate a successful mentor relationship?
  • What infrastructure is needed to manage a mentor/mentee network?
  • How do you keep track of what type of mentoring people want to do, successfully match mentors with companies and track the effectiveness of mentors?
  • How can I better track my mentor partnerships while they are in progress?
  • How do we track mentor time/interactions (as a non profit, reporting is an issue)?
  • What are some of the recommended tools for tracking/reporting mentor-mentee engagement

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

  • Not so much a question as much as I would like access to networks of mentors who can model best practices. (resources)
  • How can I become a better mentor?