Life is a pitch. And according to award-winning actor and professional ‘storyseller’ Mimoun Oaïssa , startups in particular should learn to present themselves convincingly. His session for Startup Launch Class was all about ‘How to tell your story’. In this program, set up by ACE, ING and Strategiemakers, they invited Oaïssa to reveal some of his ‘storyselling’ secrets. His pitching-advice in a nutshell? ‘Take over control. Carefully decide your body language. You are in charge! Show enthusiasm and authority. And doing great feels weird, because ‘change feels strange”.
Startup Launch Class
The program of Startup Launch Class offers new startups knowledge and coaching. New business ideas are developed and the students get training in how they launch their ideas into the world. In a period of 10 weeks, the students and coaches come together once a week at the Startup Factory in the Wibauthuis to validate their business model and learn different skills that an entrepreneur needs. One of these skills is pitching, a very useful one. Mimoun Oaïssa, the guest speaker of this week, explains us why.
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Communicate till you drop
“Who of you is communicating more than 10% of the time?” All hands went up. “And who more than 30%?” Still many hands up. “And who more than 75%?” Oaïssa’s point was clear: we spend much of our time communicating. And believe it or not, we are very often pitching in these moments. Pitching happens not only at those moments when you’re trying to sell your company to potential investors. We are basically pitching all the time, whether it is convincing a colleague about a fantastic idea, or getting a friend to come with us to that new restaurant.
The weird feeling called change
Oaïssa explains the way our behavior influences the way we feel and think. If you enter the stage like a smeagol, you automatically start to feel like him. How do you wish to feel on the stage? If you want to feel strong and control the moment, then start acting like it! It might feel strange, unauthentic, or just not you, but in order to learn you have to try things you’ve never done before. First you have to find your extremes, then you can find the right balance.
Students on stage
It’s showtime! After a warmup in which the students practiced their pitch in three different roles and postures (Smeagol, Obama, and Trump), it was now time to pitch their startup idea on stage. Oaïssa gave feedback, focusing on body language, energy, sound volume and speed. With this feedback, the student tried again, and again, until he left his comfort zone and dared to enter his ‘strange-zone’.
ACE Venture Lab is an initiative by the Amsterdam Center for Entrepreneurship. The UvA, Vu, HvA and AHK go hand in hand to become a ‘leader in accelerating science based and technology companies which are the drivers of innovation, economic prosperity and job creation’. ACE offers different programs for startups & students to stimulate entrepreneurship. Besides StartUp Launch Class they also run boot camps, as well as explore and growth programs . There’s even an ACE summer school for young soon-to-be professionals who wants to learn everything about starting and booming their own businesses!