I’ve got quite a few important demos and pitches coming up. This includes the TechAlliance 60-second pitch competition at Voices.com. I’ve been conceptualizing and building Speak for several years now and spent many years before that honing my marketing skill set and practices. Trying to distill everything I’ve been working on for years into 60 seconds is a daunting but exciting challenge. It’s forced me to separate the meaningful parts from what doesn’t matter.
After a recent update, I actually get to use our Speak app (here’s a sneak peak at the early web app version) to help prepare for and improve this pitch. These moments have brought me full-circle to where this journey all started: the desire and need to be able to communicate better. People spend their whole life mastering communication. It’s hard to do yet drives so much success in both our personal and professional lives. So, when I am practicing a talk or just working through something that needs to be articulated, I constantly film or record myself. If I just wrote everything down it wouldn’t be enough.
Because, it is not just the words you use that matter. It is how you use those words. It’s how you look when you’re saying them. Conversations, whether with yourself or others, contain an enormous amount of valuable information. The tone of your voice, the body language, and the facial expressions change much of what you say and how it is being received. By reviewing, by reflecting, and by analyzing recordings, insights, and transcripts, we are able to better understand ourselves. It’s uncomfortably apparent how clumsy our communication can be when we have this ability.
Two of the key ways that you can improve communication are by practicing and by gathering feedback. So, in that vein, I am sharing a quick practice pitch/talk through from this morning before I went to the gym. It is definitely over 60 seconds, and there are a lot of problems with it including a lack of crucial information for an actual business pitch. But, these are the raw pieces of what I hope becomes a powerful and polished version. This is what improving communication is all about. I’m hoping to share more with you as I continue practicing and building this technology. I will try to get a video of the final 60-second pitch and others so you can see the process and the delivery. If you are interested in what we are working on, pitching, startups, or business in general, I would love to get some feedback about how I can improve. I’d be more then happy to return the favour the next time you’ve got something coming up.
To show you my own process, I put some of the feedback I’ve given myself for this rough practice on my site. What do you think? Send me a message or comment below. And please let me know how you evaluate your communication if you’ve got a presentation, sales call, or are sharing important content online. Let’s improve and learn together.
Things To Improve
I didn’t start out knowing I was sharing this so I started out pretty casually
- There are too many statistics at the start that are interesting but make the opening too dense
- Didn’t create structure before talk so it comes off disjointed in several parts
- My pacing is pretty slow and in some parts too slow
- Several mispronunciations and over-annunciation of words
- I reiterated myself multiple times
- I went more for the origin story, value, and emotion behind Speak and not enough on business model, market, pricing, and how people can use it
- Need better control of my breathing and sounds I am making
- It is of course a pitch but several parts felt too salesy
- Need to make ending more apparent and powerful
Things That Were Good
- Because I was casually recording it comes off quite natural
- As a whole, even without that much knowledge of the business model and product, you can understand the value of Speak
- I am passionate about the work and product
- The problems Speak is trying to solve seem pretty apparent and important
- Pretty cool and effective opening and statistics
- I come off as determined (hopefully not stubbornly so) and confident we are working on something worthwhile
- Really like the part about how improving just one person’s communication makes the world a better place
- I managed to connect some fairly disparate trends and stats that are difficult to connect for people not in my space somewhat concretely
- Although disjointed, several of the stories behind why I’m building Speak are well-communicated and impactful
- There was some good vocal differentiation that made the talk more engaging
What do you think? Send me a message or comment below. You can listen to the podcast or read the transcript generated by Speak on my website.
Please let me know how you evaluate your communication if you’ve got something big coming up. I’m not an expert in this and always want to improve and learn more. We want to share more tools and strategies so everyone who wants to can communicate better.
By the time I’m done, saying this you actually forget about 50% of what I said. Tomorrow that will drop
down about 25% and next week, you will remember about just 10% of the words, I’m saying right now. In
fact, when we look at what matters most in conversation, and communication, it’s not actually just the
words that matter. When we break it down only about 7% of significance is actually put on the words
itself. 38% is put on the actual tone of the voice. How are you saying what you’re saying? Lastly, 55%, on
So, in these business meetings across the country, where they fly to go see themselves in person, think of all the expenses that go into doing that. And yet it’s something that we continue to
do. Part of that is, we need the information. There’s something different about sitting there in person
observing, and not just getting the words but the tones, but the body language, the facial expressions.
How are they sitting? All these things combine to give us an accurate perspective on the
communication that we’re having.
And so, as I did more and more work on my own communication. I started to look at psychology neuroscience, spirituality, wellness, consciousness, I started to try to identify what those pieces are. What makes a great piece of communication, Whether that’s you in person, In your personal life or your professional life whether that’s a sales call presentation a meeting. Whether that’s just a friendly conversation with an acquaintance. Some of these. moments in our life, both online and in the real world are some of the most crucial Yet, we really do seem to lack the tools and don’t have the understanding to be able to improve our communication every single day.
That’s why I built Speak. I was getting asked to do a talk on artificial intelligence will be in front of ton of
people, too many people. I felt really nervous. I didn’t know if I was going to do a good job. I was looking
for a way to basically take recording of myself when I’m getting hired for a talk I’m going to write out
my speech, probably in jot notes. I’m going to say it out loud. I’m going to either record myself through
video or audio. And I’m going to play it back. I’m going to identify all the problem areas. I’m going to
find the good spots. But I was also looking for some other feedback and I wanted to be able to load
video or audio online and get a review and I realized that there was not an opportunity to do that.
Originally I thought I would love a review from another person but when I started to talk around and ask
other people what they thought about that they thought that was a great idea but they also
questioned the the skill level of the viewer and the objectivity of the viewer too.
And so I started to look at a software solution. So what really came out of you know I want a better
public speaker started to apply in all these different areas, whether that was just a presentation with a
client or actually printing a piece of content online where I was speaking.
Or, trying to evaluate a YouTube video online to see why was it doing so well? Why was it trending so
high? All these sort of desperate applications that I didn’t really originally think of actually really
combine nicely into the platform that we built.
And so it’s not just a tool dedicated to help people speak better that’s a side effect and a benefit of the
tool, the increased awareness and focus on the communication that you’re having. The ability to be
able to review that, basically have like highlight replay with the breakdown analysis. That definitely
gives you better communication and is going to be a big advantage in that, but what I have also tried
to do is give people the ability to create content in a better way, in a more streamlined way. One of the
things that I notice was if you take podcast or video and you take the transcript and paste it below on the website that you can actually
get a pretty significant boost in your search engine rankings. Through the engagement that people are
actually reading the transcript while listening or watching, the accessibility to that brings and then the
indexing of keywords, it really does drive the understanding of websites to know what you’re doing, and
also give them the trust to be willing to show you in search results. So we’ve tried to automate that
process and in a really cool way.
Part of that is speech to text technology, where you know the goal of this is all I want to be able to do is
speak, and we’re able to create very, very powerful content optimized for social media, but also
optimized for search engines. So we’ve building and continue to build the ability for you to talk into
Speak and turn that piece of content into an embeddable player that you can put right on your
website that is actually getting indexed by search engines. Or you can just paste the static text that we
give you other in PDF for text format. There’s a lot of power in our platform. By extracting key insight so
the communication, or content, or data that we’re looking at, we can get a more holistic understanding
in almost a quicker and more efficient way. If you were to review yourself speaking but you had a 2
hour session that’s a lot to review.
But, by giving you the keywords, the topics, that tones, the brands, you will be able to quickly navigate through we can reduce the time it takes to review that, review that accurately and get a true understanding of the valuable parts. The parts that you could improve, the parts that lead to meaningful, life-altering conversations. And that’s what we’re trying to get to. I realize just how many times in our lives that a big moment comes down when we are communicating. Whether that is on stage during presentation, or whether that’s doing a seminar online, or sharing announcement through social media. These are some of the most crucial moments of our lives. And yet we fail to put enough work into them. And that’s what I’m here to help with. I’m not an expert on this but I am deeply deeply curious about this every single day. It drives me. Conversation has been one of the biggest drivers in my life. We’ve seen the rise of podcasts and Audiobooks. That interest is not going to go away.
And I think as humans, we crave deeper conversation, we crave better communication. Some of the
people at the top of those games right now or some of the greatest communicators and that’s why we
listen to them. That’s why we watch clips of the full podcast, why we listen to Audiobooks every single
day. These are beautiful forms conversation of communication. It’s information, it’s intelligence, it’s data
for us as humans and articulated right that can be very, very powerful.
And that’s what we’re trying to do. By improving the communication of just one individual, were improving the operation of this world, we’re improving the data that gets sent, that gets distributed, the tasks that get assigned in work. Every single person’s communication that we can improve will have a compounding impact on that person, on the organization that it’s working for, the community, and the world as a whole. And so I know that I’m on a great mission right now, I’m going to continue on that mission. And we will do great things with Speak. I just want to get this done. I want to get this done for myself as a tool for myself to get better at this. Spent years and years practicing. I finally found a piece just a base platform that I think is valuable
enough to share.
I want to share that with the world, so that we can all be better communicators and all be better
orators, we can all be better writers. And when we’re trying to articulate what we’re trying to get across
we can. Because there’s nothing worse than having something to say, and not being able to articulate
it properly. I’ve been there, I’ve seen the changes that can happen over perception whether you’ve
gained weight, or where you are in your business cycle or where you are in your career, the way people
respect people way people listen. We will continue to focus on this, we will make better tools, products,
technology that will allow you to communicate better.