Here at Volume Nine, everyone joins in on a client pitch at some point, whether we’re leading the charge or there for support. While some of us are natural public speakers and thrive when pitching, others prefer to remain safely behind screens, making SEO magic happen.
No matter our personal feelings about public speaking, everyone here at Volume Nine was excited to have Jay Mays, founder of Pitch Lab, stop by for an afternoon “beer-and-learn” talk recently.
Jay did stand-up comedy for years and picked up a few tricks for engaging an audience – and keeping them engaged. He rolls this into his 20 years of experience in sales and business development to create an awesome, funny, and educational workshop called Pitch Lab. During the workshop, he teaches how to become a better speaker and give better pitches, incorporating lessons from famous stand-up comedians.
V9’s Pitch Lab experience
The workshop started with each member of the V9 team delivering jokes from Mitch Hedberg and ended with some brave V9ers pitching the team meat water, prescription windshields, and animal energy drinks. Along the way, we learned about engaging a crowd, minimizing stage fright, cutting out “ums” and “likes”, and much more. Even the most seasoned public speakers among us walked away with some new lessons about delivering an engaging pitch. Some nuggets included:
- Talk 15% louder than your natural speaking voice – this will eliminate “ums,” “uhs”, and “likes”.
- Don’t stand behind a podium – walking in front of the podium helps you connect and engage with your audience.
- Before beginning to speak, take 10 seconds to stand in the front of the room in silence. Doing so will draw the group’s attention to you and build anticipation to your speech.
- If you feel butterflies before your talk, pretend they are due to excitement instead of nerves. You’ll find that it may help you get excited for speaking.
What V9ers thought of Pitch Lab
Here’s what some of the team had to say about their Pitch Lab experience:
“I loved the comedic examples and how famous comedians also incorporate public speaking methods in their stand-up. It was a great reminder that presentations don’t have to be boring. Even a sales pitch can be funny and engaging!” – Olivia
“I thought it was awesome to have people from every team come together to learn how to be more authentic and confident when speaking!” – Gitel
“Anytime you can combine an educational presentation with the natural humor of a stand-up comic, you’ve struck pure gold. Pitch Lab was great because Jay encourages the audience to get up, participate and put into motion each lesson he is providing. It’s much different than simply taking notes on a laptop because, during this training, you’re forced to practice what is preached (for better or for worse!).” – Brian
“I liked the combination of the fun, easy-going aura of stand-up comedy with high-pressure business pitches. It makes thinking about a pitch much more approachable and attainable. Plus who doesn’t like to incorporate humor into a sales pitch and keep people on their toes?!” – Ashley
“I learned that when I try hard to be funny, I channel Ryan Reynolds’ character from Deadpool. I’m still curious if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. On a more serious note, I suppose I always assumed “delivery” was important for telling a good joke, but the parallels to delivering a good pitch are unavoidable.” – Richard
“I keep thinking about how to make my meetings more story-like. A beginning (something extremely relatable), a middle (the ah-ha), and end (how we’re here to help you).” – Miranda
“Even though public speaking doesn’t intimidate me, I was able to take away some great ideas to make my public speaking even better thanks to Pitch Lab.” – Chelsea
“Some of the big takeaways I had were refreshers from Communications classes in college that I tend to forget when I’m up speaking: Be fully visible instead of hiding behind a podium or table, slow down speech to gather my thoughts and create emphasis, and be relatable, approachable and interesting.” – Anne
Needless to say, we were all pretty stoked on Pitch Lab by the end (yes, even those of us who get visibly green at the mere thought of public speaking). If Pitch Lab sounds like something you want to check out, stop by one of Jay’s Pitch Lab Meetups around Denver.
“My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana. I said, “No, but I want a regular banana later, so yeah.” – Mitch Hedberg