May 8-9 2015 I was commisioned to do a IMG_317324 hour workshop at Skodsborg Kurhotel for a group of entreprenuers and academic specialists belonging the Danish Association of Masters and PhDs (Dansk Magisterforening).

The focus was training various shorter pitching formats that were suitable for meetings and sales situations – even though the product itself might be rather complex.

I picked out two different approaches to work with: Pecha Kucha and NABC-method.

Pecha Kucha
A Pecha Kucha pixi format was used as a ‘get to know each other’-exercise. The original Pecha Kucha concept gives a presenter a format of 20 slides/items of each 20 seconds, leaving 6 minutes and 40 seconds for a presentation. That format will in itself give most academics a mild panic attack.

I trimmed the format even furter and gave the participants 5 slides (pictures only, no text) of each 15 seconds, leaving only 75 seconds per person to present themselves and what they do. It sounds impossible to cary out such a format when dealing with academics, but it worked miraculously and the 35 participants presented themselves in 45 minutes – and quite entertaining too.

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NABC
Next exercise was to create a 1 minute pitch of a specific product or service (already offered by their company) addressing a specific problem or need for at specific target group. The chosen format was here the NABC method:

Need – Important and quantified  customer or market need. An idea without a practical need for it remains just what it is: a good idea and nothing more.
Approach – Unique approach to address the Need.
Benefit – Benefits/cost = customer value (Quantified).
Competition – Straight competitors and substitutes addressing same Need. Focus is on the reality in which a concept has to function.

The gordic knot of this exercise is, for an academic, to shift the starting point from focusing on his or her own professional darling or interest (Approach) over to somebody else’s Need or problem (which the product or service then is the answer to).

Another twist in this format, if used in a commercial context, is to provide documentation and facts that support a quantification of Need and Benefit:

The problem cost X because…..
The need is worth Y because….

The participants at this workshop worked in small groups trying out different versions and strategies for presenting their product or service in the NABC format and gave each other feedback on both content and form. Finally, they were told to create an A3 poster to aid and represent their presentation which was put on the walls after the 1 minute pitch.

The participants got 3 neon strips to tag their favorite presentations in the room. The winner with the most strips was awarded ‘Best entreprenuer of the year’ in the Danish Association of Masters and PhDs.

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