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Archive for July, 2016

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  • Is the idea of a business plan outdated?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.

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.

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.