TechStars demo days are always exciting.
Not just for the many brilliant tech founders who each have to pitch to an auditorium filled with investors & VIP’s.
But also for the large audience that had gathered in this beautiful historic London venue.
This was The Royal Institute in Mayfair, a space that rivals any West End Theatre. It’s an impressive stage, with the audience gathered on all sides, and can be daunting to anyone who has never taken on such expanse – and especially if English isn’t even your mother tongue!
Yet, in spite of the obstacles, every CEO owned that stage. They looked the audience in the eye, projected a strong voice and showed genuine leadership in action. It was thrilling to watch.
Having worked with TechStars many times across Europe, I have learned that the number one factor that makes a winning pitch is – brace yourself – some genuine feeling. Not the BS razzmatazz, but some authentic delivery.
A compelling story does not lie in presenting a slick, polished, shiny self. That’s boring and predictable.
No, our strength lies in our shared humanity.
We cannot pitch our business to an audience through the straightjacket of perfection. We’ll sound flat, lifeless, and fake.
Leadership and a winning presence is about acknowledging our vulnerability on stage and stepping up anyway. As my brilliant acting coach used to always tell me – invent nothing, deny nothing. Show up. Aim high. And stop chatting Amy!
People often ask me …
“How do I bring more of MYSELF to my pitch?”
The irony is that, whenever ANYONE asks me that question, they’re already bringing their full self to the moment between us. I observe them smiling slightly, with a little nervousness showing through their facial expression as their passion comes through their voice. I see a little of their inner story.
And my answer is always this…
“You’re doing it right now. Here you are. No technique needed. No pretence. Bring this part of yourself to your “performance”. Stay in this imperfect messiness and speak up anyway trusting that your message has value and needs no embellishment.”
That’s authenticity. Nothing to prove. Nothing to hide. Just truth, one breath at a time.