Getting better at pitching

4 points by zxed 6 months ago

I speak really fast; not because I’m nervous, but when I slow down, I forget what I wanted to say next.

I applied to W19 last year and after we found out that we were invited to meet and interview in person, I wanted to do something to be better prepared at the inperson pitch.

I asked a few people if they would listen to me pitch or answer some basic questions like, what are you working on.

I shared the points and content I wanted to cover beforehand.

The feedback was consistent - “slow down, we didn’t understand half the stuff you said”

So I put together a tool that would listen to me as I practiced and it would figure out what I said. I used it to enunciate better (when I didn’t it wouldn’t pick up what I said), get better at pacing my words, and help verbalize content around keywords.

It’s basically a console app, but as I’m gearing up for to apply for S19 - I wanted to see if this would be useful to others.... I’ve slowly started converting it to a web app and have a bit more work to go before it’s usable by others.

_ah 6 months ago

I read an interesting technique for improving presentations: 1. Create an outline, then record yourself pitching freeform from the outline. Practice many times until you get a recording that seems perfect. 2. Then, memorize that recording WORD-FOR-WORD, until you can deliver the "spontaneous" pitch with perfect timing every time.

I can't find the source right now, but I'm pretty sure it was an interview with Donovan Brown talking about his presentation technique @ Microsoft.

  • zxed 6 months ago

    That’s actually very close to what my mock ups look like (and what my console app does). The only difference is the word-for-word. I have a hard time recovering if someone cuts me off so I found that keeping track of key points I wanted to make let’s me organically recover (even if it’s slightly different words). So in this app, the first step is to copy-past your 5-6 sentence script. Then select keywords , and then pitch to it :). But yes, awesome insights, do let me know if you find the article. I’m planning on having the first demo version ready tomorrow -

ohiovr 6 months ago

Might be useful to think of the problem like a radio or tv ad. What can you say in 30 seconds that could be memorable or interesting enough to warrant further interest? Write a script and read it into a voice recorder. Then listen to see if the pace is natural. After doing this a few times you should begin to hear the most important aspects shine through. It costs money to have a tv ad. And it might as well be an opportunity cost in real life.

  • zxed 6 months ago

    Interesting angle. The tool I have doesn’t record or playback the audio. I’m using a transcribing engine to convert it to text to see what it captures. I figured that if a machine can figure it out, then almost any human can understand what I said.

    I then use a summarizing machine learning algorithm to see if the output matches the summary of what I wanted to convey.

kohanz 6 months ago

This may or may not matter to you, but there's a few startups/apps out there tackling public speaking improvement. Orai, for example. A friend of mine is in a similar space and discovers new competitors all the time.

  • zxed 6 months ago

    This is perfect / I was hoping someone would post what’s already out there and that’s really what I was looking for and forgot to ask in my original post.

    Unlike Orai, I’m not doing this for $’s - no subscription, no ads, just free... :). It won’t be as fancy, but will give you the same features as I saw on the App Store.

rman666 6 months ago

I don’t think I have this problem, but I wouldn’t mind seeing it when it’s ready.

  • zxed 6 months ago

    :) appreciate the straightforwardness - it seems like it has limited use; maybe people starting out new in sales or customer support who need to memorize scripts might get use out of it?