Image by Stephen Poff [image not related to the program, just my own imagination to put it here]
Visited Demola today in an international business event. Here’s something about the program behind it: http://www.digibusiness.fi/portal/digibusiness_klusteri/international_business_program
The event and the food was great [thanks for the organizers! ;)] and I met many interesting people – as it usually seems to be the case at Demola.
A couple of advices came to mind for those who were presenting their business ideas at the event.
1. Learn how to give a good presentation, now.
You won’t go far, at least internationally, if you don’t know how. If this is something that terrifies you, embrace it how you feel, it’s natural, and turn your thoughts in the reward that’s waiting for you when you deliver the perfect pitch. See yourself doing it, and start practicing.
If you feel you don’t want to do pitching and it’s too awful for you, like Harri Länsipuro from XN-Ventures said at the event, get someone else to do it.
2. This one is related to the previous: Ignore the microphone.
Meaning, do not refer to it anyway in your presentation unless the mic dies. It just makes you look like a newbie. So what if you haven’t spoken to a mic that many times? They don’t need to know it and they don’t know it unless you make it a big deal.
You’re there selling your product and that’s the only thing they need to be hearing. Nuff said.
3. Loosen up and be your positive and funny self.
If you don’t know how to be or even look positive, learn it from somewhere – watch stand up or something. Do you think people need to listen to you if you’re dull like cardboard?
4. Be personal.
Yes, this is a bit different from the previous and truly a notch up. This means, throw a bit personality in the game and think alternative routes [styles, sentences, tone etc.] how to present your thing, and try to get contact with the audience.
Some of the people in your audience hear start-up pitches hundreds per year. How are you going to stand out from them?
But hey, what do I know, I was there just as an audience. 😉
This is a post inspired by a recent nice post by Jari Parantainen at Sissimarkkinointi.fi. If you know your Finnish, go read it here. The message in my post is basically this: show what you got and stop speaking too much that professional BS.
Many times I’ve encountered a situation in the new media scene, where client’s understanding of the terms or the so called web slang isn’t at the same level for example with the ActionScript programmers or the social marketing professionals.
This doesn’t mean that your client company’s contact would be dumb or just too simple to understand these things, but more of that he or she understands more what terms like ROI and other similar mean, and they buy services and knowledge from people who know what for example Flex means and knows why to and where to implement it efficiently.
Sometimes the new media people thrown to the mercy of a customer service situation forget the old famous saying:
A picture tells more than 1000 words told in a professional slang no one else than you and your nerd homies understand.
When you pick up something solid to show, something concrete like a demo or a previous preference showing how your concept could work or look like, then it mostly doesn’t matter to the client with what technique you’ve done it [not talking about how much something can cost or how time consuming it can be], as long as it works and the client got what they came for.
Most of the time you’re not selling them a technique but a solution. And efficiently and robustly sell you must, or those neat project ideas you’re having in your sketch book, won’t ever see a light of day.
Delivering a clear message with something ‘cool’ [again I dare to use the professional word ‘cool’] in these situations often determines the outcome betweend will they say ‘Yes, let’s do that!’ or ‘Err… I don’t quite get this. Let’s stick with the old tune.’.
And another free advice to nearer the possibility of success to those who can’t stop speaking the web slang to their customers in a wrong place; pay attention to persons when you are speaking to them. Listen to what kind of terms they use when they speak about the subject at hand and try to fit your language to their world instead of showing off your language skills when talking about Nings, Twitters or even maximum CPU speeds [unless it’s preferred and OK in the situation – which is probably not a client presentation, but a get together with those before mentioned nerd homies of yours].
If your client seems like sweatting, distracted and his eyes are rolling because of the language you are using, it just might be better to change the tune you are singing the song. And show him something already!