If you blow the pitch, you won’t win regardless of the idea.
After three mentor sessions, there was one presenter that stood out amongst the rest that we really feel the need to highlight. The value that this presenter brought was this; yes, of course, financials are important and yes, of course, a marketing strategy is crucial, however, if we look at this competition and the goal of the work that was put in, the true mission for our entrepreneurs is to win $10,000. You can have a flawless business plan, a marketing strategy that is innovative and unique, but if you don’t know how to convey any of those messages, connect with the audience, portray confidence and really sell the judges on what you’ve been able to accomplish then you are not going to complete that mission. You need to know how to pitch it. Period.
Knowing that public speaking is a weakness for MOST we thought it would be beneficial to equip our entrepreneurs with the skills necessary to “nail” their pitches. Jay Mays of Pitch Lab came for the final mentor session after the entrepreneurs had completed all the formalities of these strategy sessions to guide them across the stage. Using pauses as a dramatic element. Splitting the stage if the content seems fit, relating a speaking style with a comedian to replicate their delivery and analyze what goes well and not…
Even if you’re not a public speaker there are things we all know not to do, right? Don’t talk too fast, don’t fidget, don’t speak too quietly…the list goes on. Jay helped with what to do, by bringing in the weaknesses to shine a new light on it. For example, you speak fast…that’s okay. You’re not going to slow down so let’s integrate more pausing so that it spaces out your speech. You feel nauseous when you walk on stage…not to worry! That will not go away, however, it’s harder to go from nervous to calm then it is to go from nervous to excited, so let’s channel these feeling into something more positive, excitement.
Pitch Lab and Jay Mays brought a comical and relatable feel to what is arguably the hardest part of this competition. It’s difficult to give a presentation, let alone a presentation that you have poured all your time, love and energy into. They want to get it right, and we want them to get it right too!
Pitch Lab is one the local businesses in the entrepreneurial/startup space here in Denver that is driving home the sharing approach to business. He was willing to jump in and he brought his talents – blending the presentation principles of comedians and storytellers to help our competitors be more confident and engaging when the stakes are high. If you haven’t seen a Pitch Lab presentation, you are really missing out. Go now.
Our entrepreneurs have had about 4 months to prepare for this Friday night’s Innovation Challenge. These businesses have developed their business plans, their brands, marketing strategies, their overall teams and now, they know what it takes to give a great pitch. Easier said than done. We are waiting in anticipation to welcome each business to the stage and see how they have chosen to use these toolkits we’ve provided. Good luck to all the business competing, we will be there rooting you all on!
See you Friday at Regis University Mountain View Room at 7 pm.