Over the past 2 weeks I’ve given 4 presentations on ‘How to Launch a Brand‘, coinciding with our upcoming book release of the same title, which consisted of a combined 3 hours of Q&A with startup entrepreneurs ages 16 to approximately 54. I also conducted 12 one-on-one mentoring sessions. I felt it was time to reflect and share what I’ve learned through talking with these ambitious and energetic innovators and disruptors:
When you have only 60 seconds to pitch – and there’s a whole lot to convey in that time – it seems to make sense to learn it by heart. Wrong. If you present your passion project it should not sound like it comes from an automated machine. It will lack heart and soul…and the most important asset: your pitch will be missing you. The same holds true for anyone giving any sort of presentation. Know your stuff and definitely prepare your speaking points, but don’t read it all off your notes or have it memorized sentence-by-sentence. You will never be able to truly connect with your audience that way. In whatever business presentation you find yourself in, your audience will always want to get to know a little bit about the person behind the speech.
A defensive person in an advisory conversation is most unappealing. As a trained Graphic Designer, this lesson took me over a decade to learn and almost another one to perfect. If you walk into a conversation with an open mind, ready to listen and learn, thinking to yourself that you know nothing (or ‘You Suck‘ as a fellow mentor at The Founder Institute put it), you will allow yourself to absorb. What you do with the gained knowledge is up to you in the end – it’s a take it or leave it. If you are never open to taking it in the first place you will only be left out.
You listened to a speaker, you leave the room inspired and get started implementing his or her advice. Or you could walk up to them, introduce yourself, and start a conversation. Or connect via LinkedIn the day after and request a quick call. It happens all the time. Approximately 20% of attendees connect with me and ask for a couple of minutes of my time. Could I say no? Yes. Is there a big chance I won’t? Yes. All it takes is courage. Ask and you shall receive. The next generation is doing this, they are the bold connectors and will soon steer the ships we all think we are captains of. Let’s adapt that boldness.
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