By Steven Schultz – On April 4, 2014 Tyler Prochnow and Herb Sih from Think Big Partners visited William Jewell College to provide students with a boot camp session about delivering the perfect entrepreneurial pitch. The session lasted approximately four hours and covered a range of topics from ways to improve the creative process to the technical side of presenting to investors.
After introducing themselves, Tyler and Herb handed out several stimulants for the creative process. These included citrus smells, mints, Red Bull, 5-hour ENERGY shots, and Play-Doh.
During the session Herb described an accordion analogy in giving a pitch. This analogy suggests that if a pitch can be made in two minutes, then it can be made in one minute. If the pitch can be made in one minute then it can be made in thirty seconds. If it can be pitched in thirty seconds then it can be pitched in three minutes, etc. The analogy is helpful when practicing a pitch because sometimes there arise unanticipated time restraints on the presentation. If a pitch is planned to be thirty minutes long but, at the beginning of the pitch, the investors say they only have fifteen minutes, then adaptability is crucial and practicing with the accordion analogy in mind helps prepare for these situations.
Students were involved in the session as well. There was a thirty-minute exercise in which students lined up in two lines facing each other and gave a quick thirty-second pitch. This pitch included who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Students either made up an idea on the spot or pitched about something that they are actually doing. Later on in the session the accordion analogy was put to the test when students were then asked to take that thirty-second pitch and turn it into a two-minute pitch.
During the session a question was raised from a student inquiring preparation for job interviews. Herb answered this question by stating, “Know what you want to say, know who you are talking to, and know your time restraints.” He also recommended carefully observing the contents of the interviewer’s office. This can give an interviewee insight into the interests of the person interviewing them and provide some subject matter for conversation.
Students in attendance gained valuable knowledge concerning pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunities as well as career positions.