AI, or artificial intelligence, has taken root in biotech. From lab assistants to drug discovery, AI provides a cheap, quick, and more effective process for advancement. And the AI push is visible within public speaking development, from counting your “uh’s” to determining if you speak with enough passion.
There is no shortage of apps, software, and computer programs that claim to increase your skill as a presenter and public speaker. Many Biotech companies have embraced Artificial Intelligence (AI) apps, software, and programs that offer a “speech coach in your pocket.” Should you whip out your credit card and sign up? And if you have joined the AI coaching bandwagon, what do you need to prepare for while using the app? Here are seven critical factors to consider:
1) Technical Difficulties– Utilization of AI for improved communication skills is a reasonably new technology and there are still technical issues to prepare for: Blank screens, constant reinstallations, “free plans” with little value, outdated versions that require a help desk to resolve, restricted content, a lack of continued learning opportunities after a certain point, lessons that won’t load, and any other tech issue you can imagine. This puts a damper on progress.
2) Lack of Context – Your app may flag you for pausing too long, but if you are a skilled speaker, you can hesitate for an extended amount of time and investors will wait with bated breath in anticipation of what you will say. The app may tell you your pace was too fast or slow, but again, a speaker telling a funny story or sharing a heartbreaking loss will utilize different pacing speeds to help create excitement, momentum, suspense, or surprise. (more…)
- The message was lost
- The team didn’t seem on the same page
- They didn’t present what the VC wanted to hear
- It just wasn’t right
When biotech start-ups go to present, the common belief is that the technology, biologic, assay, or molecule will be the catalyst for awarding funding.
No, it won’t. The fact that you have something that might work and be beneficial to some subset of people worldwide who suffer from a specific condition is how you got in the room. Whether you leave the room with funding is based entirely on what you focus on for the investors.
Today I will share with you the three things to focus on in VC meetings to get funding. There is one overarching factor in every one of these – you MUST provide value for the investor. (more…)
The concept of perfection in science is prolific. You want your research to suggest that your drug, therapy, etc. will work 100% of the time. That is impossible, but the goal is to get it as close as possible to every time on every patient with the fewest side effects. Most scientists in startups began as highly successful students who experienced some success at larger biotech companies or post-doc labs and then ventured out on their own. It’s in your makeup to win, to be successful in research, and to strive for perfection. Unfortunately, you are in business, where perfection is unattainable and often stands in the way of success. In a Huffington Post article published in 2013 by Carolyn Gregoire, she explains that the research on success shows that a focus on perfection correlates to a high amount of failure.
Since failure is not an option when it comes to funding, the goal is to mediate the anxiety that surrounds this contradiction between scientific training/success and business expectation. This anxiety correlates to a fear of speaking. I am not suggesting that anyone is afraid to talk to people, but that this speaking environment creates a fear response in us. This response can make us put off practice, focus on content and structure rather than delivery, and exhibit physical reactions – physically shaking, not breathing effectively, and potentially changing how we would normally speak.
We can help. First, don’t worry. Many people have this same fear. We recommend that you approach it both psychologically and physiologically.
- The Psychology – When dealing with this fear response, it is important to physically write down the irrational beliefs you are dealing with and the corresponding rational reality you know to be true.
- The Physiology – When you are dealing with the physical responses to fear, the best response is to relax. Our most effective relaxation tool at the moment is Diaphragmatic Breathing. When you breathe in, make sure your shoulders are relaxed, and your stomach moves out when you breathe. That means you are using the diaphragm. Each time you practice take one deep breath and try to count to 20 by saying “one by one and two by two and three by three” and so on until you reach 20. Practice this technique 10 minutes at a time, three times a week.
You cannot have a perfect presentation that will always get you the outcome you want. This is why you have a fear response. Using these tools, and many others will help you deal with the imperfection and present significantly better.
I have helped many teams become more effective at presenting as a team. Because humans are SO different and have SO many variables, it can be quite challenging to coach a team. Most teams preparing on their focus on:
- who will say what during which slides
- the order of presenters
- making the time fair/equal, etc.
Often teams are presenting because the stakes are high, and the consequences are critical. And, of course, money is frequently involved either as part of a department budget, a start-up trying to get funding, and many other situations in which the listeners must hear from the entire team.
The people listening to the team present will be acutely aware of all of the non-verbal communication of the team. Whatever this communication reveals will carry more substantial weight than the words were spoken. A well-known architectural firm who brought me in because they started losing projects that they should have won. After assessing the team, I realized that one of the members did not get along with the others. Despite well-planned, streamlined presentations they still lost, and they were dumbfounded. What were they missing? Their subtle nonverbal behaviors communicated the discontent within the team. Despite the polite and professional words, the facial expressions, the lack of eye contact, the dismissive exchanging of documents, etc. were all indicators of discord within the team. People believe what they feel energetical and what they see over what they hear. It is SO SUBTLE. These nonverbal behaviors are the kind of things that only human beings can detect . This client of mine needed a new type of coaching to get past the issues that plagued the team. (more…)
4 Nov How to present as a team
Team presentations are difficult. They are even more so when there is $10 to $50 million in funding on the line. The presentation sets the tone for the next year or years of your business. So, getting it wrong, messing up, or not presenting as a cohesive unit is not an option. The pressure is high, and the stress over getting it wrong is higher.
When we coach teams, who are looking for that essential round of VC funding, we find that one of the keys to relieving the pressure is working on the transition between different sections of the presentation and various members of the team. There are three steps to good transitions between people: (more…)
One of the statements most often spoken by anyone faced with a big investor presentation is “I need to practice.” For life science start-up CEOs and leadership teams, this is in many cases, a topic of conversation. “I need to practice.” “We need to practice.” “We need to schedule practice.” “This presentation is critical because it influences our funding.” It is common to think practice is easy, but it is not. It is not easy to schedule; it is not easy to do as a team; it is not easy … period. While this is good for people like me because it is part of what we offer, it is time to demystify practice. I will outline five best practices of practice…so you can practice better!
Strategize and write
The first step to good practice is to take the time to purposefully consider, structure, and write what is going to be said. The biggest problem for most people is they believe their “story” is easy to tell and easy to understand. It is not. Without consideration and strategic writing, your message will be confusing to listeners. Remember, the goal is to write something that is for your listeners, NOT you. (more…)
Welcome to our three-part series that gives biotech CEOs and executive decision-makers the tools to advise, influence, and persuade listeners. After working with numerous Life Science and Biotech clients, we’ve observed that many biotech executives are ill-prepared for delivering their companies essential messagesduring a formal presentation.
This blog post, based on our extensive research, explains that there are only three ways to persuade someone of something. If you missed Part 1 or Part 2, be sure to catch up first before you read this post. This post, Part 3, explains the third and final persuasion tool when you need to convince someone to do, think, say, or approve. (more…)
Welcome to our three-part series that gives biotech CEOs and executive decision-makers the tools to advise, influence, and persuade listeners. If you can communicate clearly and understand how to be persuasive across various situations, your organization will thrive.
This blog post based on our extensive research explains that there are only three ways to persuade someone of something. If you missed Part 1, be sure to catch up here. This post, Part 2, explains the second persuasion tool.
A CEO can take on a variety of tasks they wish to tackle. However, some tasks can’t be delegated. A few of the vital functions of a biotech CEO include: (more…)
If you present to investors or other small group meetings, watch Dr. Ethan Becker show you how to use Apple’s new SideCar technology to help improve human connections!