Public Speaking, Startups

Understanding people, even when you don’t

Last year, when we ran the very first Pitch Training Camp, one of the students was Ilana Milkes, founder of World Tech Makers. Over the last year Ilana and WTM have gone on to accomplish amazing things, including launching classes in multiple cities and being accepted into Startup Chile.

At the end of the latest WTM bootcamp, the students had the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the rest of the class. The WTM team invited me to join in on the fun, watch the pitches, and help judge and select a winner.

I probably don’t have to tell you this, but technology is amazing. I was able to Skype in and watch each of the students pitch in Colombia.

Lisa Russell judging World Tech Makers pitch

Unfortunately, Skype couldn’t help me with the one bit of detail I managed to over look. Each of the students pitched their ideas in Spanish… and I do NOT speak Spanish.

Not wanting to interrupt or distract from the pitches, I continued to listen to each of them as they delivered their ideas. I would catch a few words here and there, but instead focused on the rest of their presence and delivery.

I watched how they navigated the stage.
Their comfort level as they spoke.
The stability and variety of their voice.
How the audience responded to them.
Their ability to smile, even if nervous.

While I wasn’t able to judge them on their every word, it served as an amazing reminder that so much more goes into a good presentation.It’s not just about havingall of the right information in your pitch, it’s about being able to confidently deliver your message.