5 Quick Presentation Tips for Startup Pitches

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David Cummings on Startups

Tonight I had the opportunity to hear startup pitches at the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition regional final at the Atlanta Tech Village. Being a regional final, this group represented the best HBS-affiliated teams from around the Southeast. Here are five quick presentation tips for startup pitches after seeing tonight’s event:

  1. Tell a Story – Most of the pitches were product-heavy and not story-oriented. The winner of the event told the best story and made the problem/solution most relatable.
  2. Invest in Slides – Slides should be visually compelling, even if the investment is modest. Everyone in the audience knows immediately if they’re homemade.
  3. Don’t Read Slides – One of the presenters read multiple slides to the audience, word for word. Ouch. Engage with the audience and don’t read to them.
  4. Max 10 Words Per Slide – Slides to be used as handouts are different from slides for a visual…

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11 tips combating stage jitters by TED speaker coach

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TED Blog

Gina Barnett advises a speaker during TED2014. Below, her best last-minute public speaking tips. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED Gina Barnett advises a speaker during TED2014. Below, her best last-minute public speaking tips. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED

The weekend before a TED conference, each speaker rehearses their talk in the TED theater. It’s a chance for the speakers to get to know the space, for our curators to give last-minute suggestions on talk content, and for our speaker coaches to give advice to help each speaker feel their absolute best the day of their talk. During this time, we overheard speaker coaches Gina Barnett, Michael Weitz and Abigail Tenenbaum give a few extraordinarily helpful tips that we’d never heard before.

We asked Gina Barnett, longtime TED speaker coach and author of the upcoming book Play the Part: Master Body Signals to Connect and Communicate for Business Success (to be released in June), to share some specifics:

  1. Start drinking water 15 minutes before you start talking. If you tend to get…

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