Tuesday, March 19, 2013

WAYRA Collaboration - Pitching to Win

In January, I worked with the WAYRA companies and their tremendous programme manager, Adah Parris.  The goal was a pitch practice and some guidelines for delivery.

Yesterday, Telefonica UK published a post about it.  It's pretty concise about what goes into the mix.  Take a look.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Lab at Telefonica

Yesterday, I went to visit Telefonica in Slough and visited with Shomila Malik.  It's a remarkable project -- a start-up within a large company investigating the ways in which innovation can both benefit the larger corporate venture and smaller tech stars who could create new possibilities if brought in.

Shomila is remarkable herself.  With the background of a programmer, she began by creating prototypes and sold them in through demonstration to make Telefonica meet customer needs more fully. 

It's a trend that is catching on.  As a pitch coach and brand consultant, businesses like The Lab seem like an obvious move for most big businesses.  After many interviews of intrapraneurs elsewhere, the trick seems to be selling in the new ideas, even after the structures are in place to house them.

Too often, innovators get frustrated and leave.  Larger companies, then, are left, dinosaur-like, and unable to move swiftly enough with the trends.  If anyone has seen a solution to this problem, please let me know.  I'm collecting stories, and I'll publish them in time.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Some Video on Pitching for Investment

In a nutshell, the most important thing you can do when pitching for investment is remember how investors listen.

You start to speak, and they hear something like "blah blah blah when-am-I-going-to-get-my-money-back blah blah why-should-I-believe-you?"

For Queen Mary, University of London, I did a speed session for academics who want to be entrepreneurs -- and the first stop is investors to get some seed funding.

I was given 15 minutes to sum it all up -- forgive the "ok's" and "rights" as I sped.  But here is some video on how to pitch for investment.   The specifics weren't filmed due to confidentiality issues with the start-ups.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

(More) Tips on Pitching for Investment

I've been asked repeatedly for more tips about pitching -- here you go!

The best strategy is to blend elements into a seamless story.  Here are the first series of tips about which I'll be elaborating in weeks to come:

1. Be aware that you are telling a story. Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end with transitions that lead from one to the other and tell the listener where you’re going.

2. More on the importance of transitions: Always remember to tell listeners where you’re going. They are much more likely to listen because they know WHY to pay attention.

3. If you are unclear what the structure looks like for your story – which elements lie in the beginning, middle, and end – put each piece of your presentation on colored note cards that distinguish the sections of the story. It’s a good exercise no matter what-- so that you really understand how you’re telling your story and why.

4. The point of the pitch is for new contacts to feel it’s obvious to meet you and to learn more about your company/project. However, the reason for telling the story must have its own, more specific internal logic. This is the logic that drove you to work on this idea – and now drives you to give the highlights. It’s what gets the investors/clients/collaborators to feel (not think) that you have it going on. Even if you’re only doing it for the money, your personal investment in this project needs to be felt. If so, it will be contagious.

5. No one ever made a decision based entirely on data – it’s how much/in what way the data supports the feelings you can generate in the rest of the story that will win your audience over.

6. It helps your audience to engage to give specific, concrete stories within the story. These can be very short, but any time you offer an abstract concept, offer a concrete example.

7. Discard jargon in favor of day-to-day language. Pretend you’re talking to a room full of highly intelligent, successful, well-educated, curious bakers. What kind of language would you avoid?

8. More on bakers: don’t use acronyms. OECD is ok if said s-l-o-w-l-y, but for more frequently used acronyms, skip the letters and say all the words. It doesn’t take much longer – World Wide Web takes even less time to say than WWW.

9. Say your name slowly and deliberately. Leave a pause between your first and last name. It’s important that listeners understand you, or they will assume they won’t understand ANYTHING you say. You want their attention from the beginning.

10. Stay focused as you go – to make sure you are concentrating on the story, why you care about the story, and why the listeners should, too.