Posts Tagged ‘pitch feedback’

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.

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 or +1 (860) 573-4821.

Present with a Purpose

Posted on: November 8th, 2013 | by tmpadmin

Originally posted by Seth Godin.

To make a change happen.

No change, no point. A presentation that doesn’t seek to make change is a waste of time and energy.

Before you start working on your presentation, the two-part question to answer is, “who will be changed by this work, and what is the change I seek?


The answer can be dramatic, “I want this six million dollar project approved.”

More likely, it can be subtle, “I want Bob to respect me more than he does.”

Most often, it’s, “I want to start a process that leads to action.”

If all you’re hoping for is to survive the ordeal, or to amuse and delight the crowd, then you’re not making a presentation, you’re merely an entertainer, or worse, wasting people’s time.

Change, of course, opens doors, it creates possibilities and it’s fraught with danger and apparent risk.

 Much easier to deny this than it is to embrace it.

Every element of your presentation (the room, the attendees, the length, the tone) exists for just one reason: to make it more likely that you will achieve the change you seek. If it doesn’t do that, replace it with something that does.

And of course, you can’t change everyone the same way at the same time. One more reason to carefully curate your audience with your intent in mind.

If you fail to make change, you’ve failed. If you do make change, you’ve opened the possibility you’ll be responsible for a bad decision or part of a project that doesn’t work. No wonder it’s frightening and far easier to just do a lousy presentation.

But you won’t. Because the change matters.

Virtual Pitch Competition Announced for Startup Weekend New Haven – Grand Prize $250!

Posted on: October 21st, 2013 | by Bill Kenney

SWNHAre you registered for Startup Weekend New Haven? If so, you have a chance to perfect your pitch, reduce your anxiety, promote your idea to potential team members, and win $250 all before the weekend even starts.

NET LogoEntrepreneurs who want to form a strong team around their idea and be successful at Startup Weekend New Haven need to have a great 1-minute pitch. Imagine walking into Friday night knowing that you will excite and engage the audience with your pitch. You can do it!

When you participate in this virtual pitch competition, you will not only prepare yourself for Friday night, but you will also have a chance to win a $250 cash card courtesy of the New England Tech Project.

The $250 cash card winner will be determined based on the entrepreneur’s ability to state the problem and their solution and call-to-action in the most compelling way.

Participating is simple:

  1. It you haven’t already, register for Startup Weekend New Haven

  2. Create a free account on Test My Pitch (you will navigate to the portal)

  3. Utilize Test My Pitch to draft and post your video pitch for feedback

  4. Draft and post as many pitches as you like. Perfecting your pitch normally takes at least a few draft and feedback rounds…no one starts with a final draft!

Rules to qualify for the Startup Weekend New Haven Virtual Pitch Competition and potentially win the $250 New England Tech Project cash card:

  1. You must be registered for Startup Weekend New Haven before entering your pitch

  2. You must post your video pitch on before 5:00 PM on November 14, 2013

  3. Only video pitches will be considered

  4. Your pitch must be judged the best by our team of judges

Good luck and pitch well my friend!

(860) 573-4821

Virtual Pitch Competition Announced for Startup Weekend Hartford – Grand Prize $250!

Posted on: October 6th, 2013 | by Bill Kenney

startup-weekend-logos-for-web-sliderAre you registered for Startup Weekend Hartford? If so, you have a chance to perfect your pitch, reduce your anxiety, promote your idea to potential team members, and win $250 all before the weekend even starts.

Entrepreneurs who want to form a strong team around their idea and be successful at Startup Weekend Hartford need to have a great 1-minute pitch. Imagine walking into Friday night knowing that you will excite and engage the audience with your pitch. You can do it!

When you participate in this virtual pitch competition, you will not only prepare yourself for Friday night, but you will also have a chance to win a $250 cash card courtesy of the New England Tech Project.

NET LogoThe $250 cash card winner will be determined based on the entrepreneur’s ability to state the problem and their solution and call-to-action in the most compelling way.

Participating is simple:

  1. It you haven’t already, register for Startup Weekend Hartford

  2. Create a free account on Test My Pitch (you will navigate to the portal)

  3. Utilize Test My Pitch to draft and post your video pitch for feedback

  4. Draft and post as many pitches as you like. Perfecting your pitch normally takes at least a few draft and feedback rounds…no one starts with a final draft!

Rules to qualify for the Startup Weekend Hartford Virtual Pitch Competition and potentially win the $250 New England Tech Project cash card:

  1. You must be registered for Startup Weekend Hartford before entering your pitch

  2. You must post your video pitch on before 5:00 PM on October 17, 2013

  3. Only video pitches will be considered

  4. Your pitch must be judged the best by our team of judges

Good luck and pitch well my friend!

(860) 573-4821

10 Tips for Being Awesome on Your Video Pitch

Posted on: August 7th, 2013 | by Bill Kenney

Video has become the next big thing in personal branding — just look at the success and popularity of apps like Vine and now Instagram video. But beyond just trying to become the next YouTube sensation, people have transformed it into a great platform for job searches. Video résumés have become a way to grab the attention of potential employers, and video calls via Skype have become the norm for long distance job interviews.

Jared Matthew Weiss had a regular spot on The Today Show, a column in Shape Magazine and has consulted over 800 clients worldwide on how to reach their potential. He founded Overture, a company that produces short, chic black-and-white videos designed to capture your story and share it with the world. The personal branding expert was kind enough to sit down and share 10 important tips that will help set your personal video apart from others.

How You Look

  • Wear Clothing That Makes You Feel Good About Yourself – Have some fun with your wardrobe and be sure it reflects your personality. Choose comfortable clothing that showcases the real “you.” To make a slightly more formal statement, a suit and tie or blouse and skirt is perfect. Keep jewelry to a minimum. Feeling good about yourself is key. And it will show.
  • Mom Was Right: Sit Up Straight – The camera exaggerates everything because there is nothing to distract the viewer. If your posture is poor, viewers will think you’ve checked out and lost interest. Your body should convey your energy and intelligence without being stiff and robotic.
  • Watch Your Body Language – Everyone Else Will – Weiss speaks from personal experience on this one. Throughout his first live television segment he was unaware of the fact that he was impulsively rubbing his leg to calm his nerves. Find a good place for your hands so they aren’t distracting to viewers.
  • Smile With Your Eyes – A warm and genuine smile does wonders for coming across as sincere and confident. But flashing those pearly whites is only part of the key to smiling. The eyes can dictate whether a smile is real or forced. In this case, crow’s feet can be a good thing.

How You Sound

  • Use Your Natural Voice – While some of us admit to practicing our news anchor voices, leave that “Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America” voice at home. Be yourself and speak to the camera like it was your best friend. Not only is it more natural, but it’s what people expect. You want your video to reflect who you are, not Brian Williams.

For the full article by Brandon Smith of click here.

12 Questions that Venture Capitalists Will Ask You: Straight from the Entrepreneurs

Posted on: July 31st, 2013 | by Bill Kenney

What Is Your Hole?

“The classic VC role is that of an interrogator, trying to break you for a key secret. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Folks who watch the TV show “Shark Tank” know this feeling. Time after time, a well-rehearsed entrepreneur goes through his pitch, and everyone loves it. But the Sharks (VCs) keep poking at the startup until they finally find a hole. Maybe the company has zero revenue, a poor growth strategy or a weak CEO. Know your weaknesses better than your strengths. Before our first VC meetings, my team sat down and asked each other “gotcha” questions until we were all experts.”

– Neil Thanedar | CEO and Founder, LabDoor

How Are You Different?

“With proper due diligence and competitive analysis, you should be able to make a case for how you differ from other folks in the marketplace. How can you prove that you have a truly unique value proposition? What is it about your offering, your approach, your technology and your team that makes your company able to achieve and execute on this opportunity? “

– David Ehrenberg | Chief Financial Officer, Early Growth Financial Services

How Much Is Your Company Valued at?

“The reason why determining the valuation of your company is so difficult is because there is no right answer. On the one hand, you need to be realistic, but on the other hand, you do not want to undervalue your company, as the VC may think something is wrong. The best way to handle this question, and most others that arise when negotiating with a VC, is to do all you can to have several VCs interested in your company. Like in most negotiations, if you have several interested parties, they may bid against each other, which will allow you to obtain the best terms for you and your company.”

– Doug Bend | Founder/Small Business & Startup Attorney, Bend Law Group, PC

What’s Your Customer Acquisition Cost?

“The best way to tackle this question is to show reasonable estimates for customer acquisition, using well-researched numbers and reasonable conversion rates. If you can’t explain how you are going to acquire customers for less than what you sell them on average, at a fundamental level, you have failed to explain your business.”


– Patrick Curtis | Chief Monkey and Founder,

When Are You Paying Me Back?

“There are many entrepreneurs with amazing ideas. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but execution is everything. Every investor will ask you when and how he will recoup his investment. What experience do you have? What is your track record? Before going into a meeting with a VC, make sure to tell him about your experience, your track record and, most importantly, how you will recoup his money. Lots of people pitch the idea before the finances. Pitch the finances and how the VC will make money; if he asks you a question, then you got him to bite — now it’s all about your elevator pitch.”

– Ak Kurji | Chairman & CEO, Gennex Group

Why Won’t a Huge Corporation Build Something Like This?

“VCs will ask, “Why won’t a huge corporation build something like this and use their existing customer base and capital to capture market share?” The best way to defend against this is to have technology and intellectual capital that the company will want to acquire, rather than destroy. “

– Matt Wilson | Co-founder, Under30Media

Visit to read the complete article.

Author: AlleyWatch

Your Slide Deck Is Nothing but Risk

Posted on: July 22nd, 2013 | by tmpadmin

According to some sources, more than 30 million business presentations are created each day.

And you know what? Most of them are terrible. We’ve all sat through the proverbial terrible presentation with no purpose, nothing memorable, no clear action items, too many slides, the monotonous drone of the boring presenter. There is a reason business presentations get lampooned all the time. How does something become a cliché?

The PowerPoint presentation is an abused and overused method of communication. But when it is done well, the results can be remarkable, because, frankly, the bar is set really low. It’s pretty easy to impress.

So, in my effort to help you impress, here is an important mindset to carry with you when you are preparing for your next business presentation. Your slides can only hurt you. They represent nothing but risk, nothing but downside. It is true, and I can prove it to you.

Imagine that I walk into the room, and speak a great presentation… I am articulate and clear and smooth. I look people in the eye. I get to the point quickly. I do everything correctly, with one exception: I have put a terrible deck of slides on the screen behind me. Just imagine a great presenter with a terrible slide deck. That terrible deck will measurably hurt your perception of that otherwise great performance.

Now imagine the opposite. Imagine that I walk into the room and speak a terrible presentation. I am monotonous. I mumble. I don’t look anyone in the eye. I don’t get to the point. I am awful. But on the screen behind me, I put up the world’s most beautiful, creative, clear, and powerful slide deck. It is a perfect deck. But my perfect deck will never cause you to ignore my otherwise terrible speaking performance.

This means that a terrible deck will hurt an otherwise good presentation. A wonderful deck will not save a terrible presentation. In other words, slides can only hurt you, they cannot save you, and therefore they are nothing but risk.

How do you manage that risk? Simple. Your goal with your slides should be to give your audience nothing to be distracted by. Your goal with your slides should be simplicity, clarity and consistency. Every slide should have a purpose. Complete the following sentence: I am including this slide because… If you don’t have a good answer to that one, take the slide out. And then complete this sentence: The key message on this slide is… If you can’t complete that sentence simply, then your slide is too complicated.

Keep your slides in perspective. Make sure they don’t hurt you, and you are halfway home.

Written by Dean Brenner, The Latimer Group

Want to get crowdsourced or expert feedback slide deck? Try Test My Pitch. It’s FREE.

Give the Perfect Elevator Sales Pitch

Posted on: July 16th, 2013 | by tmpadmin

Can you tell what you do in a compelling way? Believe it or not, most people can’t. Here’s how to do it efficiently and effectively.

Ah, the classic elevator pitch. It’s a challenge every entrepreneur, marketer, and sales person must meet, and yet most do it poorly. The concept is simple: communicate what you do in the time it takes to ride an elevator from ground level until the door opens and you have to leave. Of course, those of us living in New York have the advantage of very tall buildings. Truthfully though, you have about 1–2 minutes to leave an impression powerful enough to get someone to continue the conversation after exiting.

Everyone needs a simple and compelling way to explain what they do. It’s the key to successfully prospecting networking events, chance meetings and parties for new business. But unfortunately the way most people explain themselves comes off self indulgent and boring resulting in wasted conversations and fruitless encounters.

Here is the typical wrong way:

Hi, my name is Frank Smith and I am the CEO of Smith Marketing Services. We help companies grow and we give great customer service. Do you have any marketing needs?

The people on the receiving end may or may not think they need a marketing company. Most likely, they are only thinking about what they are going to pitch to you.  This pitch does nothing to compel people to engage further, only to continue the conversation in hopes you want to buy what they are offering. Ultimately everyone’s time is wasted.

A powerful elevator pitch, however, communicates a compelling value proposition that attracts customers predisposed to buy.  It can help you efficiently weed through a large group, stopping only for meaningful conversations with real potential customers. Here is a step-by-step process on how it’s done:

Step 1–Connect with Empathy

Create a specific pain statement for the customers you want. You really only want to talk to people who are willing to pay for the problem you solve. Otherwise you are wasting your time and effort.  For example:

You know how growing companies with revenue over $5,000,000 struggle with getting salespeople to say the same thing, let alone the right thing? Often they grow on the sales ability of the entrepreneur, never putting efficient marketing systems in place; then they hit a plateau and can’t scale.

If the people hearing this don’t get it or know someone who would, they can answer no and you can move on, having wasted less than 20 seconds.  But if their company is suffering from the issue you outlined you’ll be able to witness their face drop as they identify painfully with the scenario.  Now you immediately look smart and empathetic as they affirm that the picture you painted is terrible and frustrating. You have gained their attention.

Step 2–Offer an Objective Solution

So now they are listening and they just got vulnerable. No need to put them on the defensive. They are thinking you might be pretty smart and insightful. Don’t prove them wrong by trying to close just yet. Continue showing them how smart you are by offering up an objective solution to their issues. Begin with the entrepreneurial mantra: Wouldn’t it be great…? For example:

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a company that could design and implement comprehensive marketing that makes your sales process efficient and lets your salespeople close more deals?

If people don’t respond positively to this statement then they weren’t really connecting in Step 1 and you can dump the conversation having only wasted 30 seconds total. Those who connect should be now hanging on every word and nodding their heads, thankful that someone finally gets their frustration.

Step 3–Provide Differentiation

Now they are 90% there. The best way to close is by explaining why only you are the best to provide the solution they need. You have to ready a couple of points that truly differentiate you from your competition. Note that “Experience” or “Great Customer Service” won’t make you stand out since all of your competitors claim the same even if it’s not true. A true differentiator is something your competitor can’t do or won’t do without great effort or expense. Here’s the finish:

My company uses proven project management and storytelling techniques honed from our background in theater. Additionally we use proprietary processes outlined in my #1 bestselling marketing books and my national column on Inc. Perhaps I could send you a link to my column or a couple of chapters from my books?

If they say no, you only wasted 1 minute. If they say yes, you have succeeded in starting a conversation that may lead to business.  The last line is incredibly important because it gives you permission to get their email and pursue a relationship. Even if you aren’t a writer, have compelling content like white papers, videos or blog posts ready to email and support your pitch as promised. That way you won’t have to carry a ton of collateral into every elevator.

Article from Inc.

The Art of Concise Communication – 5 Valuable Tips

Posted on: July 11th, 2013 | by tmpadmin

Most pitch coaches agree that it is easier to do a 20-minute pitch than a 1-minute pitch. How can this be? How can having to build content 20 times longer be easier? The primary issue is that short communication takes a level of precision that long communication doesn’t need.

Winston Churchill used to say that it would take him “four days to develop 5-minutes of extemporaneous remarks”. Concise communication is an art form that is entirely audience centered. All of the fluff is stripped away so that the meaning is self-evident.

Few of us remember the name of the noted orator, Edward Everett, who spoke two hours at the Gettysburg battlefield. Instead we remember Abraham Lincoln and his two-minute “Gettysburg Address.” Everett, in a note to Lincoln afterward, said, “I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.”

Here are some tips for being concise:

  • Keep sentences short – The self-discipline to do that will aid you in making your point quickly.

  • Avoid unnecessary words – Imagine hearing a television weather person, using a map, say, “This is where we are at, right now.” Just saying, “This is where we are” would have been sufficient. “We are here” would have been even better. Avoid “kind of,” “sort of,” “basically,” “actually,” “generally,” and “definitely.”

  • Avoid jargon and acronyms – Techspeak is risky. It is likely that some or most of your audience will not understand it.

  • Always revise – When revising what you plan to say or write, you will usually be able to say the message with fewer words. When you revise, you can discover more specific words and eliminate vague referents such as “it” or “they” and substitute with more concrete terms.

  • Get feedback – It is easy to fall in love with your own words. Testing your message by sharing it with others and getting feedback will remove your communicators bias.

Conciseness is saying what needs to be said with the minimum number of words. As Joseph Conrad said, “He who wants to persuade should put his trust, not in the right argument, but in the right word.”

More Concise Communication Wisdom

The chief virtue that language can have is clearness, and nothing detracts from it so much as the use of unfamiliar words.


The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.

Hans Hofmann

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.

Thomas Jefferson

The letter I have written today is longer than usual because I lacked the time to make it shorter.

Blaise Pascal

Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood.

William Penn

Words are like leaves; and where they most abound, Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.

Alexander Pope

The shorter and the plainer the better.

Beatrix Potter

One should aim not at being possible to understand, but at being impossible to misunderstand.


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).