Pitch Academy is a core module offered in the Master in Management (MiM), Business Management track to help students discover, develop and hone their pitching skills. The course gives studentents hands-on experience and real-time feedback in presenting their ideas to key decision makers.
The semester long competition culminates in a grand finale event where 12 students compete to persuade the judges that their idea is the most convincing. This year the Pitch Academy was sponsored by Sapient Razorfish, and judged by Xavier BUREAU, Deputy General Manager of Sapient Razorfish. Students delivered their three-minute pitches around the theme: How to explain digital transformation to your grandmother.
- How has the Pitch Academy helped you to improve your ability to capture audience attention?
- Solène Del Vecchio: A pitch is meant to blow people’s mind. The more powerful your pitch is, the better. Therefore the right mixture of striking words, humour, and body language can do the trick. What counts is not often what you say, but rather how you say it.
- Francois Civetta: Learning to slow down in order to make myself clear and mastering techniques to ensure that the audience retains the key ideas in mind were some of the main benefits of the Pitch Academy.
- What feedback did you find to be the most memorable?
- Solène Del Vecchio: Be confident, smile more and erase parasite gestures; the undesirable and often unconcious physical movements that can be distracting to the viewer.
- Francois Civetta: The jurys helped me to understand my strongest pitching quality: the energy and dynamism I use when communicating. It is this strength that I must build my pitches on to ensure their success.
- What did you love about the experience of competing in the finals of the Pitch Academy and why?
- Solène Del Vecchio: I appreciated being surrounded with close friends. The atmosphere felt very safe and friendly. It also was a pleasure to see other finalists perform their pitches. It was a great occasion to learn by seeing.
- Francois Civetta: All of the pitches were very convincing and unique to each finalist. The experience showed me that that there is no single way to execute successful pitch and that so much relies on our personality.
- What are you going to do differently next time?
- Solène Del Vecchio: Loosen up even more.
- Francois Civetta: Be careful with the pacing of my speech to ensure each word of my pitch is clearly understood.
- What advice would you offer to people wanting to learn how to give a successful pitch?
- Solène Del Vecchio: The way to give a successful pitch is to master your script and to deeply believe in what you are saying. When writing the pitch, it is important to imagine yourself performing it in front of an audience. This helps you to find well structured sentences and striking words. Also, a light touch of humour is always welcome. It brings some levity to the mood.
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, this will never be said enough. Do not hesitate to change the script as you see fit, in order to make it even more audience-oriented. Finally, and that most certainly is the most difficult part to reach: let it go and abandon yourself. Being able to loosen up is essential. I believe when making a pitch, you should become comfortable giving of yourself and being vulnerable.
It takes confidence to accept that people might judge you. It is important to remain oneself no matter what. Expressing your authentic self allows the fear of judgement to disappear and frees you to focus your energy on poise, rhythm and eye contact with the audience.
- Francois Civetta: When preparing for the pitch, be honest with yourself and imagine if you were the person you wanted to persuade: would you really be convinced by your pitch? A critical spirit is essential when approaching the pitch.