It's been a hectic few weeks so apologies for the late post! Yet again, loving these workshops and so glad that each week correlates with the current events of my business :) This week was all about PITCHING! Seeing as I've challenged myself to do 50 pitches/live talks this year, this workshop was extremely useful. Every business related book I read or videos I watch have made it very clear that business owners will never scale their business if they cannot sell and pitching is basically selling! A pitch is basically delivering your business plan verbally. You sell yourself, your idea, your business in order to get people to believe in you so they can part with their investment as typically, this is what business pitches are for.
So we started off the workshop with our check in as we normally do so we can catch up with everybody. We then went on to start our 30-min Hack sessions with Helen who summed up Lean In and Girlboss for us. I found Helen's main points to be:
- Girls are discouraged from taking risks and advocating themselves - they do the work but then simply don't promote it!
This is very true. Helen even recalled a time where she had done this unknowingly. She was working for a company and eager to be promoted so started working really hard by going above and beyond what was expected of her only to realise that she hadn't been put forward for the role she wanted. Helen approached her managers confused but only to be told that they had no idea she had wanted to even be considered for a promotion as she never mentioned it! To be heard, we must talk louder ladies!
- By taking on the 'higher power' body pose, we can become more powerful
This was so good to hear as I do sometimes feel that I speak differently even on the phone depending on how I'm sitting or standing. As a telephone market research interviewer for many years, I remember practising different poses at my desk in order to sound different on the phone and when it came to B2B calling, it was so important that I too sounded important and professional on the phone in order to bypass the CEO's P.A!
Helen advised we watched Amy Cuddy's TED Talk on this which I had already seen and glad this was a reminder of the importance of physical postures before public speaking. By standing or sitting in a powerful position like one of the below poses, we lower the stress hormone Cortisol and so Helen advised doing one of these just before pitching to get us 'in the zone'!
- "Don't leave before you leave"
Often women without realising it, stop reaching for new opportunities or offer the hesitant 'yes' when being promoted or assigned to a new project which is then just given to someone else. Again, this is a very fair point and as I've now turned 28, I'm even thinking about which next steps to take and often wonder, "Will this fit into my hopes of getting married and starting a family?". With the pressure from family and friends and even clients, I do sometimes consider slowing down a little and making my huge plans smaller. I mean even as I say it, it sounds ridiculous! The feelings never last more than a minute or two before I shake myself out of the silly thinking but the thoughts are definitely happening more regularly. I mean how can I already think about something that hasn't even happened?! I can only imagine the amount of opportunities women miss out on everyday because of these similar feelings when really we should just reach for the stars whole heartedly and think about future events when they come!
3 Steps to a Perfect Pitch
So then it was time for Mina Mustappa to guide us to creating the perfect pitch. We were advised to have a draft for a pitch ready and as I was getting ready to do a pitch at Beyond Good Business in about 2 weeks, I had one ready. However I completely changed the whole thing by the time Mina was done!
Mina started off by explaining the importance of physiology for an audience listening to a live presentation of any sort. If you just listen, you will remember about 10% of what was said, if you write it down, you will remember about 50% of what was said but if you use your physiology, you will remember at least 80% of what was said.
Mina then went on to explain who her coaches/mentors are which was reassuring and gave me the idea to include this in my upcoming training programmes and post more about this on social media as the credibility of a person increases when you know who is behind them. Mina is a concious business owner (Caulizza) and believes we should all extend our business success to benefit our community! Yes Mina I agree!
We then went on to find out more about creating the perfect pitch. Mina says it's not about getting rid of our fears but rather it's about dancing with it instead! We must acknowledge the fear within us as fear will be felt by even the most confident of speakers before a pitch with the difference being how they handle the feeling. We were asked to write down our fears when it comes to pitching. We listed everything that we are afraid of when it comes to speaking to a live audience e.g. the audience won't believe I'm suitable for what I want to do, the audience will get bored or confused with my idea so won't see my vision, I will forget my planned lines and ramble on etc. This was a good way for me to acknowledge where these fears come from and I quickly realised that even the worst case scenario isn't even that bad!
Wherever focus goes, energy goes! Mina made it very clear that as important as it is to be clear on what my fears are, if I focus on them, my energy will go in the same direction and I simply cannot afford to focus on the negatives. Instead, we must replace our fears with empowerments! By fearing the idea of pitching, we lose out on so many opportunities and that's mot something I'm looking to do.
Tony Robbins - The Triad
I'm a huge fan of Tony Robbins and it seemed as though Mina was too as she explained Tony's idea of 'The Triad. Tony believes that Language-Focus-Physiology are the three patterns that create any emotion.
Emotion is created by motion. Whatever you’re feeling right now is related to how you’re using your body.
What you can do:
Stand up! Reach your arms up in a big swinging motion and breath in deeply.
March in place
Focus (and Beliefs)
Whatever you focus on you’re going to believe. Focus equals reality to the individual, even though it’s not reality in actuality.
What you can do:
Change your focus
Find reasons to be grateful
Picture your world as it would be
Thinking is nothing more than mentally asking and answering a series of questions. Certain words can change the way you feel.
What you can do:
Eliminate any habitual questions that do not serve you.
If you want to change your life, pay attention to the words you repeat to yourself
Incantation: When you repeat a phrase with enough emotional intensity, you start to believe it
Utilize the power of incantations by using the ones that support you the most.
E.g. ‘All I need is within me now.’
We must get into the habit of using this Triad so we can control what we feel by asking ourselves:
Mina's main point for me was that selling should never be a push push push! Sales is all about the discovery of a match so it should be quite easy. I believe in my idea so much that if ever pitching became difficult or too uncomfortable, I would seriously revaluate my beliefs and start from the beginning as something must be misaligned!
Your alter-ego is actually the real you!
After shaking our bums and wiggling our hips whilst high-fiving each other and shouting 'You ROCK!", we were all very upbeat and excited as working on our physiology was in fact working well. But then it was time to harness our power of being whoever we want so we can achieve whatever we want by being our alter-ego.
Now I'm very happy being Debbie but BELLA is the one who is confident, driven and ambitious! To hear Mina say that this alter-ego is actually who I really am and Debbie is just the one that overtakes sometimes was a good feeling :). I'm currently reading The Chimp Paradox which talks about how your mind works and how to control the 'inner chimp' to work in your favour which I guess is related to this idea of bringing out your alter-ego when pitching.
We were given an exercise in order to visualise ourselves as our alter-ego on the stage giving our pitch. We were also asked to come up with a pose to represent the alter-ego and every couple of mins of guided visulization, we were asked to break into the pose for a few seconds.
However Mina gave an example when a positive value or characteristic can sometimes get in the way of our goals. A tennis player who valued 'fairness' so highly started to play against another player and kept winning each round. Because they didn't see this as being aligned with his value of 'fairness', he started allowing the other player to win a few matches. This gave the other player so much confidence that he ended up winning the match. Sometimes it's best to leave some values aside!
Practice your 3-min Pitch!
So it was nearly time for us to practice our pitches and we were given the chance to write down our speeches following the syntax below which the greatest speaker of all time - Kane Minkus believes a pitch should follow.
After a very rushed 15mins, we were put to the test in-front of 3 judges who are all female founders and popped in to participate in the final stage of the workshop.
As much as I had felt confident that I had a good pitch, the nerves were strong as we sat down and heard the order of pitches. I was third up and the 3mins felt more like 30 secs! I rushed everything, moved quite a lot and said UM a lot! The judges gave the same feedback to what I felt was true and was pleased with the overall feedback.
Watch out for my upcoming blog about my first ever pitch at Beyond Good Business! :)