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10 May Six Ways to Win Your Pitch Presentation

I recently attended an event in Austin called Philantropitch, a social impact fast-pitch competition. Nonprofits step onto the stage to gain access to capital and build awareness amongst new donors and volunteers.  That night Philantropitch gave away $110,000.00.  No pressure, right?

I felt that every presenter did an excellent job which is a tremendous achievement.   If you’d like to learn more about how to thrive in a pitch competition, you need a plan and preferably a trusted and reputable speech coach to support you.

There are many opportunities to share your pitch at competitions, and these events have tremendous benefits. You will network, build partnerships, and most importantly, you will get a chance to secure funding and elevate your business.

Pitch Competition events are both exhilarating and terrifying.  Here are six ways to make your pitch stand out and gain the capital you need to get your business where it should be:

  1. Avoid an overly technical presentation

Technically- minded people usually produce technical presentations. If you have a large amount of data, numbers or percentages to share, be sure to balance it out with stories and images. Find a way to simplify the data to remain engaged with your listeners.

  1. Utilize notes carefully

No one enjoys that moment where you completely blank on what you were going to say. We find that the amount of practice required to avoid this is many more hours than most presenters think is required. Using notes can help ensure that you convey the keywords and proper message in your presentation but use them carefully.  Notes can also get in the way when they inhibit the delivery technique.  Don’t let your notes stress you out or slow you down.

  1. Find your story and weave it into a connection with the listeners

The investors or judges need to feel a connection to your organization and what you do. Storytelling can seem intimidating with the prevalence of world-class Ted talks.  You don’t have to be Tony Robbins, you need to share your idea in a way that is easy to understand and will engage your listeners.  Once you find your own speaker style, you can develop your story and provide valuable context.

  1. Be aware of what you can achieve in a short time

If you are given only three minutes to present a pitch, you need to know exactly how you are coming across.  The message needs to be persuasive and maximize the VC or Investors excitement for funding your organization.  By utilizing messaging, proper delivery, and extensive practice strategies, you will present in a way that inspires investors to take action.

  1. Relax physically

For many, the fight or flight mechanism is in full force during a presentation or pitch.  At Philantropitch I saw lots of clenched hands, shoulders creeping up towards the ears, and a clenched jaw that made breathing very difficult!  Remind yourself using positive affirmations that you are safe, that the investors WANT you to be great, and that it’s not about you.  It’s about the potential of your organization’s mission and why it matters.

  1. Don’t relax too much

After the three-minute pitch at Philantropitch, presenters had to answer three minutes of questions from the judges.  A few speakers responded to the questions by saying, “Yeah so…” or “Well, like, yeah…”, “Um, yeah.”  There is no doubt that answering unexpected questions in front of thousands of people can be challenging, and yet there is no need to use these types of vocal placeholders.  Take 1- 4 seconds to listen to the question carefully before responding.  The judges will wait!  What feels like a lifetime of silence is only a sliver of time.  Simply smile, nod, breathe, and respond.

Some of the most successful pitch competition winners have utilized these six strategies.  If you are not sure how to practice effectively, ask your colleagues or a speech coach for help.   We can all spare a little time for practice especially if you could take home $110,000.00 or much more for your organization, nonprofit, or startup.

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Laura Mathis
Laura Mathis
lmathis@speechimprovement.com

03 Apr Effective Presentations Certificate Program

With the new season comes a tremendous opportunity to become an effective presenter, one of the most sought-after skills in business today.
Laurie Schloff, Senior Coaching Partner at The Speech Improvement Company, and I are very pleased to announce the Effective Presentations Certificate Program.

 

It’s May 9th and 10th from 9:30am to 4:30pm in our training facility at 50 Speen St. Framingham, MA.

 

Over two full days, you can become the kind of presenter who’s able to get your message across effectively, deal with fear of speaking, use visual aids with precision, and connect with your listeners like never before.

 

Laurie and I bring more than 50 years of collective experience to our work and we’d love to share it with you. If you’re ready to advance your career and commit to becoming an effective presenter, register here.

 

If you work for a Massachusetts small business (less than 100 employees), this program has been approved for 50% reimbursement from the Commonwealth’s Workforce Training Fund. Call us for details!
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Donna Rustigian Mac
Donna Rustigian Mac
donna@speechimprovement.com

11 Mar Women-Only Events Don’t Make Sense and Here’s Why

Very recently, Rebecca Robbins, a San Francisco Correspondent, shared a report about an organization that wanted to take a different approach at an upcoming scientific gathering. Planners decided to only invite female speakers to the microbiome conference at the University of California, San Diego, thus igniting a major controversy.

As a woman, mother, and corporate executive, it is my opinion that women-only events don’t make sense. Now, before you throw a laptop at me, hear me out. I’ve been thinking deeply about this subject, especially with March being Women’s History Month, and International Women’s Day on March 8, 2019.

It seems clear that the event at the microbiome conference was not meant as a hateful strike against men but rather as a one-off, a way to make a splash and try something new. (more…)

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Laura Mathis
Laura Mathis
lmathis@speechimprovement.com

06 Mar Raising (and Leading) Humans

There are amazing similarities between parenting kids and leading and managing our people at work. Being mindful of this just might help you become more resilient as you groom your employees to operate at high proficiency. Being aware might also give YOU extra energy in the process. Because like raising kids, managing people can be extremely exhausting (yet some of the most rewarding work ever!). (more…)

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Donna Rustigian Mac
Donna Rustigian Mac
donna@speechimprovement.com

27 Feb How to Get Your Listeners to Participate

Make your presentation 3 times more memorable

A Chinese proverb says, “Tell me something, I’ll forget; show me, I’ll remember, involve me, I’ll understand.” 

According to recent studies, when people participate in a presentation, the material becomes at least three times more memorable for them than if they merely listened to a lecture. 

Sometimes you risk losing listeners altogether if you don’t go out of your way to involve members.

(more…)

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Laurie Schloff
laurie@speechimprovement.com

18 Feb How to be Persuasive

One of the topics our team of speech coaches cover most often is persuasion. Many people believe persuasion is about saying “I am right and you are wrong.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Persuasion is about presenting your thoughts and ideas in a compelling way that makes others listen to them. So, if I have persuaded you to read on <ahem>, here are three important considerations to be persuasive:

(more…)
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Dr. Ian Turnipseed
Dr. Ian Turnipseed
ian@speechimprovement.com

07 Feb Aligning Multicultural Teams


Creating awareness of communication patterns and knowledge are key to a successful implementation

Managers and leaders are often massively challenged in how to quickly align cross-functional and multicultural teams in today’s mobile and ever changing global economy. A solid conflict management approach – having the knowledge, a reliable process and a system in place that people can follow – is crucial to not allow emotions to become overwhelming.To do so successfully requires a high level of interpersonal communication skills which are acquired through in-depth self-development, reflection, training, coaching, experience and practice. These interpersonal skills and awareness may not have been acquired on an equal scale as technical knowledge in the process of professional development.

To know what happens (a misunderstanding, a difference or an argument for example) does not imply that people know WHY it happens and HOW to create a shift and the necessary communication changes towards constructive solutions. Creating awareness of communication patterns and knowledge are key to a successful implementation of more efficient ways to communicate.

(more…)
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Sharesz T. Wilkinson
Sharesz T. Wilkinson
shareszt@speechimprovement.com

28 Jan Approachability: Tom Brady Style


Tom Brady

How often do you think about how you’re perceived as a communicator? What’s the impression you want people to have of you after they hear you speak? The ability to control the impression you make on others is a crucial tool to have in today’s fast-paced world. 

One client with whom I’m working just moved into the President & CEO role. My job as his speech coach begins with the question, “What two words would you like others to use to describe you after they hear you speak in a business situation?”

One of his chosen words is “approachable.” And he illustrated what it means to be approachable in a very interesting way.

I like finding relevant examples of good communication and sharing them with clients. Sometimes, as in the example here, they share them with me. These examples help us examine how something simple may resonate in our everyday lives and impact those around us. As a leader, a winning goal includes building trust and rapport. He shared this article about Tom Brady. 

Tom Brady Says the Same Four Words to Every New Player on the New England Patriots, and It’s Pure Genius

Spoiler alert. In case you want the answer here and now…Brady is quoted as saying “Hi, I’m Tom Brady.” Imagine how that simple statement creates approachability.

I contributed to a recently published book on communication style, Personal Communication Style. In it, we describe the idea of an approachable person – one who gives the impression of someone who would be kind, respectful, and receptive when another person comes up to them. It’s someone who does not appear standoffish or aloof, but friendly, open, and safe. Imagine how important that would be if you are a world-famous quarterback. 

Look into your personal communication playbook, how do you communicate approachability? Remember everything communicates.

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Monica
Monica Murphy
monica@speechimprovement.com

23 Jan Why becoming an entrepreneur may be the best choice for women

73.5% of direct sellers are women

Let’s start with some statistics.  

Women are still earning 82 cents for every dollar a man earns.  If part time workers were included in that statistic, it would be much lower.  

Upwards of 75% of all caregivers are female, and may spend as much as 50% more time providing care than males. [Institute on Aging. (2016)]

(more…)
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Robin Golinski
Robin Golinski
robin@speechimprovement.com

22 Jan Powerful Persuasion Begins with a Good Story

Are you a good storyteller?

Have you tried to get your child to go to bed on time?

What about enticing a certain someone to date you?

Or…telling senior management that you deserve a raise and a promotion?

How much of your communication involves persuading and influencing others? Think about it. The most efficient and effective way to persuade someone is through storytelling. 

(more…)
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Robin Golinski
Robin Golinski
robin@speechimprovement.com

02 Jan “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Yogi Berra

People who love baseball certainly will remember its originator, Yogi Berra as one of the game’s most memorable players and coach. Many other people know him only for his absurd, but sometimes insightful quotes which spawned their own name: “yogiisms” — defined as seemingly nonsensical or self-contradictory statements that actually convey serious thoughts once listeners untangle the knots of their unusual phrasing.

Reading in the papers about mostly wrong predictions from 2018 and new ones being made for 2019 reminds me of that famous quote.

(more…)
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Jeff Turner
Jeff Turner
jturner@speechimprovement.com

06 Dec Am I supposed to be a mind reader?

Jeff and Nina were at a Christmas party all of the thirty seconds when Nina whispered in Jeff’s ear, “I think Joan [one of the women in Jeff’s office] is getting divorced.” Jeff thought Nina was nuts, but a week later Joan herself told him that she had separated from her husband. When Jeff asked his mystical wife how she knew, Nina said, “Easy. She looked relaxed, had a great new haircut, and was playing with her wedding ring.”

For centuries, women’s interpersonal discernment has been acknowledged as “women’s intuition.” Now researchers have confirmed females’ superior skill in interpreting gestures, posture, and facial expression from fifth grade through adulthood. Since men in traditionally female professions like teaching and nursing excel in mood reading too, it’s not due to chromosomes but to socialization in pleasing others and practice in adjusting to others’ moods.

(more…)

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Laurie Schloff
laurie@speechimprovement.com

27 Nov Why men should attend the Massachusetts Conference for Women in December 2018

I have always learned so much about the male mindset through my brother and many times it was contrary to what society was teaching. He was always a great ally to my sister and I when confronting our irrational and impulsive mother. I continue to learn from him by having very candid conversations about male/female dynamics and perspectives. He is angered about the #metoo stories coming out and couldn’t imagine taking advantage of an incapacitated female. He’s the type of man that women need as an ally to change the world for the better.

 

My brother was more emotionally sensitive than his two older sisters and that annoyed our dad. My sister and I would tease him until he cried, then my dad would chastise him for crying. Needless to say, I don’t think we helped him feel safe around women and I now shudder at the memories. When I was 19 and he was 16 we got into a physical fight only this time he realized he was finally bigger and stronger than I was. It took a minute for it to sink into my brain as he grabbed me by the arms and lifted me off the ground. I think we were both scared of the new stakes of this common interaction and decided it was best to stop physically fighting especially since I could no longer win (LOL).

(more…)

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Robin Golinski
Robin Golinski
robin@speechimprovement.com

19 Nov When Insults Had Class

Time for some wordplay and levity…

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill

“Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.” – Moses Hadas

“He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.” – Abraham Lincoln

“I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play, bring a friend… if you have one.” – George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

“Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second…if there is one.” – Winston Churchill, in reply

“I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.” – Stephen Bishop

“A modest little person, with much to be modest about…” – Winston Churchill about Clement Atlee

“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” – Clarence Darrow

“He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” – William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

“Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?” – Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

“He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.” – Samuel Johnson

“He had delusions of adequacy.” – Walter Kerr

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx

“They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.” – Thomas Brackett Reed

“He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” – Forrest Tucker

“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”- Mark Twain

“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” – Mae West

“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde

“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” – Oscar Wilde

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Jeff Turner
Jeff Turner
jturner@speechimprovement.com