Thanks to the Lean Startup Conference organizers: Ritika Puri, Sarah Milstein, and Eric Riess for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the fun 5-minute Ignite talks! For those of you who don't know what an Ignite talk is...it's 20 slides on an automatic timer every 15 seconds. No exceptions.
I spoke about the art of turning hospital gatekeepers into advocates so we could test our MVP (minimum viable product) at UCSF.
Thanks also to the incredibly supportive crowd at the Fairmount Hotel Grand Ballroom who laughed at my jokes. Maybe it helped that there were free drinks before the talks began. :)
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Oh, and I also practiced on my 3 and 6 year old boys. For anyone who knows me, you know that I have always spoken fast and tend to mumble. Always. So, I practiced reading Curious George books to my kids very SLOWLY with strategic pauses for emphasis. They both said, "Wow, Mom, I can understand every word you are saying." I guess I should have been practicing speaking slowly much sooner. But it's one of those weaknesses that at age 42 I thought I would never really be able to improve. I've tried, but it's never really helped much. Until now.
I guess you really can teach old dogs new tricks...if you try hard enough.
In the couple days leading up to the conference, I gave my talk to the wonderful woman who colors my hair, Lynette at Curlzalamode, the cool clothing shop worker who helped me pick out a new outfit to wear, and the bike store owner where I was procrastinating by test riding some bikes. You never know who will give you the best feedback. The bike store owner had been in PR and was a phenomenal coach...and his dad had been the VP of HR at Stanford Hospital for 20 years. If you watch the video you will see why that was so crazy to me.
On the actual day of the talk, I gave my talk a few more times... to the fabulous drag queen makeup artist I was lucky enough to have do my makeup and the awesome blowout magician, Suzie at Blowology.
Deliver one main point and focus on how to help the audience absorb it.
I've never put so much time into a presentation, but it really makes a difference. The big thing that clicked for me on this talk was letting go of what I wanted to say and focus on delivering one main point in a way that the audience could actually absorb (Thanks, Sally Kohn!) In order to get to the point where my test "audience" did not have the deer in the headlights look, I had to cut out around 15 minutes of additional content that I originally tried to cram into my 5-minute talk.