While the teams are working hard and showing high energy pitching their ideas to the judges, let’s hear from another one of Startup Weekend Aarhus Health’s team mentors, Hanne Wick.
Hanne is a communication and business consultant, and she is the co-author of, “Iværksætterhåndbogen,” a book currently in Danish with hands-on advice for anyone with their own business.
Hanne starts by sharing with us the traits that she observed in groups that she feels will prove the project successful.
“My approach with the teams is from the point of view of wanting to give precise and practical help,” explains Hanne. “I don’t like sitting there as the ‘wise one,’ I want to see practical things where I feel that it’s possible to do something for them.”
One of the main things Hanne says she witnessed with the groups is to do with presenting the ideas.
“What I observed was that many of the groups were very bad at presenting their idea,” she explains. “But that is very normal in the start. Often they have told the idea before, they have been working on it, however, presenting so that others understand the idea is incredibly difficult.”
As her main observation, Hanne spent a lot of time with many of the groups helping them to become more precise around communicating their idea.
“I want them to get their concept down to one simple idea that is easy to understand,” says Hanne.
She also emphasizes the time factor when presenting ideas. Time is particularly important at a Startup Weekend as participants get 60 seconds to present their initial ideas, and only 5 minutes to present their final pitches to the judges.
“Normally, of course, the very short pitch is called an elevator pitch,” Hanne explains. “And this is important because it helps you get focused. It is not only being able to say that speech, it is the practice to get it sharp.”
Hanne believes that the team’s need to precisely know what it is they are offering and be able to tell it very fast. She also believes that it often easier to do that once the teams have managed to sell the idea to someone.
“If you are going to tell your idea to an investor, for example, it is a lot easier if you can prove exactly where your money comes from through making a sale,” explains Hanne.
Hanne does see some negative aspects to elevator pitches, especially when teams don’t concentrate enough on the content.
“You can have the greatest idea and present it very badly,” she explains. “So then you might need someone to help you present it. I often see people, especially if they are very “nerdy” or into technical details, come with an idea, however, they might not be the best person to present it.”
In Hanne’s view presenting is a skill to recruit into a group just like any other skill and it is clear that this is quite often not realized. In that case, it is down to practice, coaching, and being sharp on validated feedback.
“It is a real shame if a good idea falls because they can’t make this sixty-second or ninety-second elevator pitch,” she explains. “It is important to see the idea, see the people behind it, and the abilities they have to realize it clearly.”
And it is clear from Hanne’s advise that pitching is a skill that needs someone already skilled in communication and sales. Or, it is something a team member focuses on to make a Startup Weekend pitch with an impact on the judges.