You may be a super engineer with aspirations to become an entrepreneur. How will you articulate your business or nonprofit idea to the bank and venture capitalists? Here are three tips that I learned in business school and Toastmasters public speaking club that can get you started:
1. Articulate your passion project to laypeople. What do I mean? If you were to avoid technical language and shoptalk, how would you describe your aim to a business person or buddy outside of your field of expertise? Be prepared to present to different bandwidths of audiences: high school educated, college educated and graduate school educated. Adjust your language to each target audience. In my brief stint in sales, the best research shows that hearers respond well to short, simple sentences. Practice with with a tool such as a digital voice recorder. Does it sound easy-to-follow? Consider using moviemaker software to capture video of yourself to eliminate distracting habits. What’s great assessment to determine if you can be understood by the general public? Pick up the daily newspaper and use words at that level.
2. Put your business plan on paper. What if you haven’t the faintest idea how to draw up a marketing and financial plan that banks will respect? Select pro bono associations such as Taproot or hit up your local business school for ambitious MBA students who wouldn’t mind a 3-month real-world exercise. For instance, be bold and pitch your idea to business student clubs such as the UCLA Anderson School of Business Marketing Association.
3. Sell your idea in three mediums. How would you present the idea in person at a conference? How would you describe the benefits to investors and end users in a webinar? I think the company SEO Moz excels in modeling web tutorials. What would you say in the first 30 seconds of a phone call to grab the hearer’s interest? I’m in favor of emulating experts at the company Wordtracker. I’ve discovered success by adopting advice from their Linkbuilding tutorials. Linkbuilding techniques translate well into phone call pitches. These are a few of the tools, businesses and associations I’ve used as a professional. Disclaimer: Although I am not receiving any sponsorship from the businesses and associations I’ve mentioned, I have previous business relationships with all of them when I worked for an online yellow pages company and as a social media marketer for an online retail company.
- Connect with Toastmasters International as a great, inexpensive resource. Disclaimer: I am biased because it helped me succeed in business school. In 2012, I’m not currently part of a local branch but I plan to resume in 2013. I’ve been a Toastmaster for 7 years and have grown significantly as a leader, writer and speaker. This international nonprofit uses systematic modules to teach the 10 basics of public speaking. Advanced speeches include presenting for tv, radio and specific audiences.
- Visit ehow/expert village/youtube are just a few internet channels that can give the introvert an introduction to getting in front of an audience. Don’t underestimate simple tutorials on Stumbleupon, Twitter and Facebook. Social media is your friend and with prepare you for authentic face-to-face meetings.
- Join Local Leaders Forums. Connect with locals with common goals. Find out who can be part of your support network. Discover how you can be a resource to others. There are leaders among us. Find them. Team up. Land press releases by first contributing guest blogs to relevant online journals. For example, you can find such groups through LinkedIn. One of my buddies is a board member of