Leadership lessons from the 6th WiSTEM cohort
The 6th WiSTEM cohort at 1871 rocked their showcase. As always, the auditorium was standing room only. (Exactly how early do I have to get there to get a seat?)
I find the WiSTEM showcases to be incredibly inspiring and educational. The energy in the room alone is enough to inspire action! Even if you don't have a pitch in your future (phew!), you can still learn valuable lessons from the women who bravely jumped on stage.
1. Be a person (This is easy because you already are one!)
Don't forget that your (sometimes scary!) audience is full of people. People love people. People also love stories. Whatever message you're trying to convey, start by showing us you and your personality. It'll get us personally invested in you, first and foremost, and make us that much more receptive to your pitch.
2. Mind the details
Give yourself every edge you can by making your message as memorable as possible. In a back-to-back pitch environment (or during a week full of meetings), you're competing for attention. Small details like charts or graphs in the style of your logo, demonstrate how much you care and give us something to remember. We'll never remember your pitch verbatim, but we just might remember a small detail or two.
3. Use a verbal outline to guide your audience
Wait, what are you talking about? What are you explaining? The best presenters use a verbal outline to guide us through their fast-paced pitch. Verbal cues like "let's break that down" or "here's my ask" prime the audience for what you're about to say. Use simple language to help us orient otherwise complicated topics. Remember, it's all about getting the message to stick. Help us all out!
4. Exude your brand
Of course, you'll dress to impress during a big presentation, but what about those everyday conversations with your team? Take a second to get into the headspace of your brand and your mission. If you're a fashion company, show off those shoes! If you're disrupting the childcare space, take a second to brag about your kids or your neighbor's kids. Show us just how much you live and breath your mission. When you personify the opportunity, we're more likely to be captivated by your solution.
5. Don't forget your village
When you get to the top, your village is right there with you. (They helped you get there, remember?) Celebrate your village! Shower your village with gratitude! Highlight the importance of your village to your audience! You are not and will never be a team of one.