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Friday, October 9th, 2009

Explaining what you do in five minutes

in: Communicate, Funding, Startups

SUCMTL5Next week, the ever-energetic Phil Telio is organizing the fifth Startupcamp in Montreal. He’s assembled five excellent new ventures from a long list of submissions, and both Tara Hunt and Chris Shipley will be attending the event.

I’m helping to judge and counsel the participants, and in doing so I’m remembering just how hard it can be to explain what you do from within your own company.

  • You can’t hone your pitch: At an event like this, you’re speaking to investors, employees, competitors, and advisors.
  • You want to explain it all: You’re convinced that you have to offer a tour of your whole product or service, which makes you rush.
  • You’ve got the curse of knowledge, something Made To Stick talks about a great deal. Basically, you know your own product so well, you forget that others don’t know anything about your market or technology.

In a pinch, here’s what I usually advise people to do if they have no idea how it’ll go. You can break a presentation up into five chunks of a minute each, and use 2-4 slides for each minute, to get your point across.
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Monday, July 28th, 2008

Nailing that presentation: Have one idea

in: Communicate, Standing out

In conjunction with Bitcurrent, Syntenic, IDG, Flow Consulting and others, we’re helping to run a weekend-long conference in Montreal in September. It’s called Bitnorth. It’s an informal take on conferences, where the attendees are expected to provide much of the content.

One of the ways they participate is by delivering Short Bits, 10-minute long presentations on a topic they care about. This year’s general theme is The Other 99 Percent, and we’re looking at how technology has changed non-technologists’ lives.

Getting an idea across cleanly is always hard, and presenting is a challenge for many people. So for those folks presenting (and anyone else who cares abount communicating) I decided to try and summarize the process of creating and delivering a presentation. I’m constantly humbled by great presenters (and there are some links to noteworthy ones at the bottom of this entry.)

It boils down to knowing what your point is, and getting it across memorably.

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