Blog

Archive for the ‘Why Pitch’ Category

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.

You Can’t Go “Off-Script” Until You Have a Script

Posted on: July 20th, 2016 | by Bill Kenney

Mark Twain famously said, “It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.

Like Twain, most speakers and presenters want to be spontaneous. They want to be that rare charismatic individual who can evolve their message to the mood and interests of the audience in the moment. Truly there is no more powerful form of speaking than extemporaneous speech. Being nimble and adjusting your message and delivery real-time takes considerable experience and skill. Attempting impromptu speech without the needed experience and skill can be disastrous and lead to lost sales, investment, credibility and relationships.

Developing the skill of impromptu speech is complex. A speaker not only needs to be a good communicator but also needs to have domain expertise and be able read their audience and adjust their message dynamically. To be a “good” communicator means that the speaker is unconsciously competent at speaking in public. We all start at conscious competence. Which is to say that, in the beginning, we have to think about and awkwardly execute every step in the process to deliver a modest speech.

Consider a driver who is new to operating a manual transmission car. They first have to learn steps to depress the clutch and move the shifter into position. They do this first with the engine off and the emergency brake on. As they build this skill to reasonable competence, they progress to shifting while the engine is on and then to driving in an empty parking lot and then driving in a quiet neighborhood and so on. By the time they progress to driving on highways or a busy urban setting their skills have evolved to a place where shifting a manual transmission is second nature. In other words, they are unconsciously competent at shifting.

Elevating your team’s ability to respond in the moment to the needs of their audience, requires them first to be a practiced domain speaker.

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

Program: Standout in 30-Seconds

Posted on: December 3rd, 2015 | by Bill Kenney

Standout in 30-Seconds
Help your team connect at every opportunity
Make high impact elevator pitches and self-introductions

Do members of your team get nervous, bobble their words or struggle to clearly articulate your message and value proposition?

Connecting quickly with an important individual or audience can make all the difference in whether or not you gain next steps. Capturing attention and compelling action takes effort and practice.

Learn, Practice and Perform

Sign up for the Test My Pitch, Standout in 30-Seconds program and you and your team will get:

2 x 1-hour workshops (delivered live online)

  1. Introduction to Standing Out
    • getting started
    • Shocked546x480creating a script
    • delivery techniques
  2. Advanced Standing Out
    • assessing the audience
    • developing a hook
    • closing with confidence

3-rounds of formalized practice and feedback with our expert mentors plus 3-months of use of the Test My Pitch platform for each team member to practice, perform and get peer feedback on their elevator pitch or self-introduction…this is unlimited practice and unlimited feedback!

Though our Learn, Practice and Perform method, skills improve quickly and affordably. Owners and managers also get unexpected insights into their team’s ability.

Reserve your spot and sign up today!

Options for Standout in 30-Seconds

Elevator Pitch – is a succinct and persuasive sales statement typically aimed at closing for a sale, investment or a meeting.
 Select team size



Self-Introduction – is a brief personal presentation of capabilities aimed at creating collaboration and building relations.
 Select team size



Feel free to call/email with any questions or individual needs
+1 (860) 573-4821 or bkenney@testmypitch.com

Subject to the standard Test My Pitch Term of Use.
Test My Pitch is a product of Test My Pitch, LLC

Test My Pitch Use for the “Standout in 30-Seconds” Program

Posted on: December 2nd, 2015 | by Bill Kenney

The intent of this post is to describe the use of the Test My Pitch platform for customers who subscribe to the Standout in 30-Seconds program.

Test My Pitch is a private communication skill development platform. Think Toastmasters online. We engage, empower and accelerate your communities communication confidence and competence.

Specific to the Standout in 30-Seconds program we will provide each team with their own private Test My Pitch community for 3-months. Your team will be able build their skills privately and collegially. Through a customized template process each member will have the ability draft, post and get feedback on their elevator pitch or self-introduction. Whether they struggle to find the right words or deliver them in a compelling way, the use of Test My Pitch will help build their skills and confidence quickly.

Besides the ability to have peer and manager feedback our team of experts will also offer feedback. Communication skills build with practice, so we strongly encourage that your team create and post as much as they want. There is no limit to how much they can post or how much feedback we’ll give.

Please let us know if you have questions on Test My Pitch or you’d like a demonstration. Feel free to contact Bill Kenney at +1 (860)573-4821 or bkenney@testmypitch.com.

Click here to go back to the Standout in 30-Seconds program information.

5 Things that You Can Learn About Pitching from Elon Musk

Posted on: July 15th, 2015 | by tmpadmin

Article courtesy of Andy Raskin @araskin.

What I Sent Zack

What I sent Zack was a link to Elon Musk’s presentation for the Telsa Powerwall (the full video is at the bottom of this post). I also included a version of the points I’ll share below.
Musk’s delivery isn’t stellar. He’s self-conscious and fidgety. But at the end, his audience cheers. For a battery.

That’s because Musk does five things right that you should emulate in every pitch you ever make to anybody. And you should do them in this order:

#1: Name the enemy

Never start a pitch by talking about yourself, your team, your product, or your total addressable market. Instead, start by naming the thing that’s getting in the way of your customer’s happiness. Do that by painting an emotionally resonant picture of how the world currently sucks for your customer, who/what is to blame, and why. When Musk shows this image of burning fossil fuels, you can practically hear Darth Vader’s ominous breath.

#2: Answer “Why now?”

Audiences — particularly investors — are skeptical. They’re thinking, “People have lived this way for a long time — are they really going to change now?” Musk handles this objection by showing that we’re at a critical point in the growth of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration; if we don’t act now, things quickly get much, much worse. When Musk says, “We should collectively do something about this,” his audience howls in support.

#3: Show the promised land before explaining how you’ll get there

Before saying anything about batteries, Musk describes his version of happily-ever-after: a civilization powered by “this handy fusion reactor in the sky, called the Sun.” Showing the enemy’s defeat before explaining how you’ll make it happen can feel wrong for novice presenters — like blurting out the punchline before you’ve told a joke. But when an audience knows where you’re headed, they’re much more likely to buckle in for the ride.

#4: Identify obstacles—then explain how you’ll overcome them

Now that you’ve shared your vision of the future, (a) lay out the obstacles to achieving it and (b) show how your company/product/service will overcome each one. (There had better be some big, nasty obstacles — otherwise who needs what you’re selling?)

Musk addresses three obstacles to a solar-powered world:

(i) The amount of energy produced by solar panels varies throughout the day and night (thus the need for batteries):

(ii) Most people think the land area required for batteries to store enough energy to rid U.S. of fossil fuels would be really huge (but according to Musk, it’s that tiny red dot in Texas):

(iii) Currently available batteries suck in seven specific ways:

By this point, Musk’s audience is practically salivating for the Powerwall product video, which will explain how Powerwall does not suck in each of those seven ways. But make no mistake: the fancy graphics and dramatic music only work because Musk has set up the Powerwall not as a battery, but as the salvation of mankind.

#5: Present evidence that you’re not just blowing hot air

Again: audiences are skeptical. So you must give them evidence that the future you’ve laid out is, indeed, attainable. Musk does that by letting his audience in on a secret: Powerwall batteries have been supplying the energy for the auditorium in which he’s speaking. (As proof, he zooms in on the meter above, which registers zero power from the grid). For early- stage companies and products, demos like this can serve as evidence, though results from early (or beta) customers are more compelling. Least persuasive— but better than nothing — are testimonials from potential customers explaining why they would buy.

Watch Elon Musk pitch the Powerwall.

See the original article.

Featured Webinars

Posted on: February 8th, 2015 | by tmpadmin

Come back often.
New webinars will be added monthly.

5 Reasons Why Your Training is Failing…and what to do about it

Building Community: How to Diversify Beyond the Usual Suspects

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

Criteria Conundrum: Developing Your Ultimate Pitch Evaluation Rubric

Feedback Failures: Where Feedback Goes Off Track…and How to Correct It!

Huh, What’d They Just Say?

Judging Nightmares…Make your judging reliable and informative!

Listening: The Secret to Powerful Communication

Make Your Pitch Event Kick-Ass

Measuring Impact: 7.5 Questions with Brian Barge from The Evidence Network

Mentee Mayhem

Mentor Magic: Overcome the Biggest Mentor Program Challenges!

Performance Paradox: How to Drive Results While Conserving Resources

Role-Plays that Rock

Stale and Underrepresented: Reinvigorate Your Community (note: Due to a technical snafu, the slides will not appear until the 4:50 mark. The audio should be good though)

The Millennial Paradox

When a Negative is a Positive: Making Feedback Effective

 

See the full library on our YouTube channel

3 Reasons Women Should Pitch Their Startups More Often

Posted on: June 27th, 2013 | by tmpadmin

The head of an angel investing bootcamp for women philanthropists, Natalia Oberti Noguera, urges women to get their business ideas out into the open.

Women entrepreneurs don’t pitch as often as their male peers. I encourage women to step up to the plate, whether it’s asking for capital to fund their startup, or asking for a raise at work.

In 2011, only 12 percent of startups pitching to angels in the U.S. were women-led, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. Out of that 12 percent, 26 percent secured funding.

Benefits of pitching:

  1. Feedback – Pitching your startup is a way that you can receive advice and suggestions from potential investors that can help your business model get closer to meeting market needs.

  2. Connections – Don’t view pitching as a zero-sum game where you either get funding, or you don’t. Instead, view pitching as an opportunity for you to meet key influencers. While a potential investor may not be interested in investing in your startup, she/he may know someone who might want to learn more and, by pitching, you increase your network, as well as you chances of securing a relevant introduction.

  3. And yes, capital – One of my favorite sayings is, “If you want money, ask for feedback” (and we come full circle…). Pitching is an opportunity for you to share your startup, engage people, and secure funding. Whether someone wants to invest on the spot, or you receive a referral to a potential investor, remember that putting yourself out there can get you closer to raising capital.

Need to practice or feedback before venturing out to pitch? Check out Test My Pitch. It’s FREE.

Article originally posted at Ideas Lab.

Natalia (aka Ms. Oberti Noguera) is Founder and CEO of the Pipeline Fellowship, an angel investing bootcamp for women philanthropists. Natalia holds a BA in Comparative Literature & Economics from Yale. Women’s eNews recognized her as one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century for 2012 and Business Insider included her on its 2013 list “The 30 Most Important Women in Tech under 30.” You can find Natalia on Twitter (@nakisnakis).