October was when I was first introduced to the meaning behind the term “social entrepreneurs” at the 1st annual Social Entrepreneurship Conference brought to us, local AZ entrepreneurs, by the Small Business Development Center and Seed Spot. After that inspirational and informative event, along with learning that Seed Spot’s mission is to support the nation’s most innovative social entrepreneurs; I was ready to find out what their collaborative office space look and vibe felt like, plus see their ventures in action, which just happened to be at their Venture Friday event.
After attending several “pitching” events and attempting some “pitches” on my own, I’d like to share my personal lessons learned about what works and what does not. Before I do that I would like to point out that “pitching” can have a negative connotation associated with it, so I’d like to call it educating and convincing someone to take action in a very short time period. My hope is to help you communicate more effectively and efficiently by focusing on what matters most while remembering to have fun along the journey!
Top 5 “to do” list:
1. Do wordsmith what you want to say to keep your talk lively with descriptive and powerful action words
2. Do deliver your talk with a positive attitude and mindset; no matter the circumstances or environment
3. Do capture the audience interest at the beginning with a strong visual, action request, question or quick story
4. Do address your biggest objection up front or people will tune out while continually thinking about it
5. Do end on a positive note with a specific call to action (awareness, beta sign-up, donors, employees, partners, etc.)
Top 5 “to don’t” list:
1. Don’t leave out your personal story, we want to know your “Why?” and see that you believe in yourself
2. Don’t put too many words on your slides or read from your slides
3. Don’t make any self-deprecating comments or excuses
4. Don’t forget to state the problem and solution on an emotional level, not on a logical level
5. Don’t forget the 3 p’s (practice, practice, practice)
Remember these are my opinion, but these top 5 lists are the most common ones I see over and over. If I had to nail down the the biggest deal killer … it would be nervousness, which I had a high level of in 2010. You could have the best story, the best product or service, but if you can’t deliver your message clearly and confidently with conviction, it won’t work. Luckily, you can find friends, mentors or go to a free Toastmasters meeting (they have locations within 10 miles of your home or workplace) to practice in a safe environment and gain constructive criticism before it’s “Go!” time.
I’d like to thank Seed Spot for the open invite, congratulate all of the brave entrepreneurs and conclude by sharing some of my favorite words from this #VentureFriday event that helped bridge the communication gap between presenter and audience: conduit, matchmaker, virtual solution, virtual concierge, and 2-click solution.
If you are interested in hearing LIVE pitches in Phoenix … the final two Venture Fridays for 2013 are open to all community members at 11 am on November 29 and December 6, 2013.
After that, it’s the final Fall Demo Day at the Orpheum Theatre on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 — info and tickets can be found here.
Visit Seed Spot here.