Many of you know I participated in the JLNO’s Women’s Entrepreneur Pitch Competition last week. We were fortunate to come in second place, and I felt so honored to participate with an incredible group of women! I decided to apply to be able to win funds to provide a sponsorship to a student who is a mentee in the Son of a Saint Foundation, as well as get the opportunity to join a yearlong program supporting a female business owner with mentoring and in-kind services sourced through JLNO’s membership. I am especially grateful to the many friends who attended and helped me to prepare: especially my friend Lauren, Kevin Wilkins at Trepwise Consulting and my #1 cheerleader, Todd! He listened to all my overthinking about this pitch and was quite patient with me. I have avoided talking in front of others or being in a competition of any kind throughout most of my life (which I know may be shocking since I talk so much!). This experience has helped me to grow as a person both personally and professionally, not to mention the overall wellspring of support feel from my professional community, my students, and my family and my friends! Thank you again to The Junior League of New Orleans, The Scout Guide, Trepwise, Basics Plus, Fidelity Bank and The Firehouse Loft for hosting this wonderful event.
Tips about presenting:
It took me a long time to prepare something to present to others due to having a learning difference. There are various reasons why smart people have these struggles, and it is important to schedule the time you plan on working on your presentation so you do not run out.
The stress beforehand for weeks was intense! It was a refresher course on what it is like to be a kid having to speak in front of an audience. Remember to support your child with any presentation that they give with as many rehearsals as it takes. Also, take the time to step away from the presentation for periods as lengthy prep sessions can add to stress levels.
Do not focus on perfection! Remember that nobody is counting your mistakes. Taking a risk is always an opportunity to grow and learn new things. Teach your child that most of the time, we are our own worst critics.
Give yourself strategies for remembering what to say, but do not read off of cards. Teach your child to make simple clean presentations that can also have visual cues if they need them. Too many words on the page for an audience to look at is overload!
Speak slowly to get your message across. Speaking slowly helps the people listening process what you are saying. Yes, I ran out of time and they pretty much had to pull me off the stage with “the hook,” but I know people heard some important facts that I was sharing that they did not know before my pitch. I was heard.
Focus on the people who support you and listen to their feedback. Tell your child to imagine who supports them the most sitting right in the front if they cannot actually attend the event.
Pay attention to the people who smiled or complimented you. Be grateful for that! Soak in the positive energy!
Make sure to find one nice thing to say to the others who competed against you. The win is being in a supportive group and to acknowledge the work others did to prepare.
Reflect on what you learned by writing it down, remembering for next time and even sharing what you learned with others.