Brittanie Chludzinski

The power of an idea

The more I learn in JRN 450, the more I see a connection between journalism and entrepreneurship.

Curiosity is the foundation of identifying problems and developing startups that act as solutions, and building a personal connection through storytelling is key to nailing your pitch.

Chris Anderson, curator of TED, builds upon this concept of what a successful pitch or presentation looks like in “TED’s Secret to Great Public Speaking.”

Rather than simply telling a story to your audience (whether it’s potential consumers or a room full of venture capitalists), Anderson argues that a speaker’s number one task is to “transfer” an idea into his/her listener’s minds.

This requires more than sharing your personal story in hopes of creating empathy. It requires you to connect the dots for your audience by using existing concepts so they’re able to form the same patterns in their own minds.

Before listening to this TED talk, I never considered how powerful an idea could actually be. In the long run, it can impact the way individuals see the world and navigate their lives, according to Anderson. No pressure, right?

Up until this point, we’ve learned that the most successful startups fulfill a “job-to-be-done.” Anderson revealed a more humanistic approach to identifying problems and creating solutions, which I believe will influence the way I approach my pitch in JRN 450 and my future role as a storyteller.

Similar to finding this “job-to-be-done,”  Anderson said, “If you can reveal a disconnection in someone’s world view, they’ll feel the need to bridge that knowledge gap. Once you’ve sparked that desire, it will be so much easier to start building that idea.”

Once again, it all goes back to focusing on the personal connection.

In addition, it’s important to consider the technical elements of giving a strong pitch. According to “Getting Sharks to Bite: The Art of the ‘Shark Tank’ Pitch,” articulating your opportunity in 40 seconds, knowing your numbers and demonstrating heartfelt enthusiasm are some of the most important aspects of nailing your pitch.

While I’m confident in my enthusiasm and demonstration of research as a presenter, I think I could work on being more concise in my delivery of the opportunity.

It’s not that I don’t know how to be concise. That’s obviously a key skill for any journalist and/or PR professional. Similar to a conversation I once had with Amy, sometimes it’s more difficult to tell someone what your product isn’t than what it actually is. I think I can work on this by being cognizant of my team’s value proposition and MVP in the first minute of our pitch.

Such awareness is similar to the idea of “keeping it simple” recommended in “VentureBeat: 7 tips for nailing a startup pitch to a boardroom full of VCs.”  As demonstrated in this article, it’s smart to approach the first minute of your presentation as an elevator pitch while also making sure to use short and straightforward sentences.

Another interesting tip I learned from this Entrepreneur article is that VCs don’t care much about your product. At the end of the day, all they want to know is how much money they’ll be making from their investment. I think this insight has allowed me to rework my mindset and understand the importance (and urgency) of articulating this opportunity for growth and being “laser-focused.”

All in all, mastering “the art of the pitch” is easier said than done. But I think my team and I are up for the challenge.

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