So what do we mean by communication. Communication is usually taken to mean transfer of information. For example, the sun is out and it is a great day. Here you are passing over information about the current day. Yet, over the last half a century or so new disciplines have emerged. They focus on using language and communications to deliver desired results. For instance, speech act theory. Here the underlying message is that we use language to generate action as well. For example, could you kindly pass over the funding for my startup ? ☺ Here the intended act is to access funding for the startup project. So the way the speech is constructed is to generate the act of funding for the startup project. So, how can we can we structure our communication to generate the desired result. In the context of entrepreneurs looking for funding at least. This is the pitch.
The pitch is usually seen as the summary of your startup delivered within 30 seconds to 3 mins. This means you are expected to highlight your startup in a way that encourages them to learn more about you. So how do you go about pitching.
The Pitch Canvas is a good way to ensure you have covered all the areas needed in standard pitch. It allows you to describe each aspect of your project in a way that suits the needs of the investor. This means you know you have covered all the areas they normally need to know about.
The message map allows you to break down your message in a way that your target listener can understand. It means you simplify the message to a degree that it is difficult to misinterpret. The point here is that people interpret the same information in different ways. How they think affects what they see in the same data. For instance, if you have an accountant and a lawyer analyse the same data sets. They will necessarily interpret it differently based on how they see the world. This is of crucial importance.
Once the message has been broken down and organised into the pitch canvas. Then comes the delivery of the pitch. This in my experience is the hardest bit. I have supported entrepreneurs in business planning competitions for over 5 years now. Every year I see the same problems. They seem to be doing really well till they get on stage and then something happens. They don’t seem to do themselves justice. The great job they do in articulating the vision and mission on paper seems to disappear. Simplifying the message seems to be an academic endeavour. This experience tends to range across different professions and different age groups.
So what is going that intelligent and articulate people seem to have the same problems when pitching. Why is that they all seem to under perform when it comes to delivering a pitch. One reason is that they are not used to delivering pitches. In the same way dancers rehearse their performance to perfect it before they deliver. These entrepreneurs simply do not get a chance to do the same. Even the more experienced ones do not have the support to try new ways. This has not gained much attention. This is the pain point we have focused on at Sparkz Ignite .
SparkZ Ignite is about using dance as an action based medium to use movement to support businesses. We feel that dance as a creative medium allows us to build our confidence. While maintaining our health and nurturing innovation at the same time. We felt using dance as a medium would be a great way to support entrepreneurs with their pitches. Last week we delivered our Pow Wow Pitch Presentation at Incubus Ventures London. This was a 2 hour workshop. We worked their current cohort of startups.
We then encouraged them to work in peer groups and support each other. We found this a useful way to build the confidence they needed to present themselves. It also encouraged all participants to learn about each other. We ended the workshop with 2 minute pitches and peer Q&A’s.
The point being pitching is a skill like any other. It needs to be nurtured, practised and rehearsed like any other skill. In the same way you may be a world class athlete. But, if you have not trained for 3 years your performance will necessarily be harmed. In the same way, entrepreneurs need to practice pitching as a skill on a regular basis. Dance as a medium is a great way to rehearse your pitch performance. It builds your confidence. It nurtures your creativity. It also encourages collaboration and a great way to get some fitness done. The Pow Wow Pitch Performance workshops will soon be offered to the entrepreneurial public in London. Sign Up here for an early invite.
This post is from the Sparkz Ignite project part of the biz Stuff co creational project portfolio.