What is Silicon Valley Speaks


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Welcome to Silicon Valley Successes, where we interview experts in Silicon Valley to bring you the knowledge of years’ experience here to help you at home with your startup. So, we're creating this reference… that reference library that can be accessed anywhere in the world. And today, our guest is Doris Pickering, who is the founder Silicon Valley Speaks, Doris, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me, Shawn. Please tell us a little bit about what Silicon Valley Speaks is.


Well, Silicon Valley Speaks was founded to help executives and professionals embrace how they speak and how they communicate their value propositions to whoever is listening, what's value propositions, what they do in their essence. So, for example, if you are a startup and you're selling, whatever you're selling, get to the heart of what it is, and why would anybody want to buy it. And so you're not wasting a lot of people's time going to places where they don't care, get to the point quickly and move on. Okay, so


if I had a startup, and I was pitching to an investor,


what would that structure kinda look like? Would it just be me talking about why I formed this company for five or 10 minutes? Is that getting to the point? Or is it like a problem? Or what do you mean by getting to the point? Well, It


 depends on who your audience is. So, for example, if you're just said a networking event, say like you're at the Mountain View chamber at one of their events. And if you're just saying, hey, so what do you do? That would be a different conversation, then if you're doing a formal pitch to a, venture capitalist where you're seeking money? Ok, so again, what I work with people is what are you trying to say? Who is your audience, and then I help them crystallize and get to the very nitty gritty of what they're saying, because again, the audiences are very different. So, if you go in and you have one message, and you just say the same message to everybody you're talking to, that's the wrong approach. So, you're saying, I have to tailor my message for who I'm speaking to? Correct? Correct.

Visualization of a speaker and episode 4 recap


So so you're selling kind of the vision of where the company's going, right? Okay. How, how important is visualization in … being a good speaker? So what


do you mean by by the visualization scene where you want the company to grow, where you want it to be one day in the future, I think it's very important. But again, a lot of times, you don't want to be able, a lot of people aren't set up to think 20 years out. So again, when you say, visualize the future, how far out are you really thinking, because, again, you know, to get seated, and, you know, round a round be around, see, you have to think in those terms that always around, you know, the end goal that you may not know what the end goal really is, you may be starting your company go, I want to be sold to Google for 100 million dollars. And then five years in, you're going, I never want to sell my company. I love my company. So that may shift. But to start out, you really want to end goal interested. Yeah.


Now, let's recap a little bit of what we've talked about today. We've talked about having a different presentation for different stages of your company, whether it's with friends and family Angel, or later investment, how important it is to have confidence and to sell yourself when you're speaking, right. Also, the pitch deck, how important a nice clean pitch deck is to talk about your message and how important it is to be able to communicate your message to your your team, right? What, what else is what am I missing here? There's a lot


Well, I again, we could go on all day. But for me, the number one thing is to have Believe in yourself and have confidence in yourself. Because when you don't have confidence yourself, people can feel it. And people want to work with confident people. What are some tips or tricks that you'd give a founder to gain confidence to gain confidence is, again, what I said earlier, is practice. You need to be able to have a clear, compelling crystal clear of message, you need several messages, and they need to be practiced enough. Or you can just pull this one out of your pocket and then pull that one out of your pocket. But it doesn't sound rehearsed. But you know it well enough that Wow, it's it's sounds great. Wow, that's great. Because you've done it enough where you won't have to go, who am I talking to you? Which 1am I going to say now it was mentioned TED Talks is a great resource area, or is there any particular speakers or CEOs or anyone that you'd recommend people to really pay attention to and try to gain knowledge from it or emulate you mean away from TED talks or talks. So Amy. So if you look at TED Talk, Amy Cuddy, she has she's one of the most watched TED Talks ever. So she does a great talk on your body language, and how, even if you're not confident, you can pretend you're confident and it actually changes your chemical makeup, which will then change your body image about yourself. So that's a very, very good one. So, Amy Cuddy, Amy Cuddy, really good business leaders or people such as Meg Whitman and just pick your political person that you want to choose. When then what I also say is pick a political leader that you don't choose, because no matter who they are, part of our challenge that I always say is incumbent upon people is you need to be able to not be resistant to somebody that you're coming across. Because resistance is an energy that's very negative, interested, and what would be one piece of advice you'd give a founder starter startup, believe in yourself and go for it. Great advice. Go for it.


All right. So I'd like to thank everyone for watching us and Silicon Valley Successes. If you'd like to find out more information visit Silicon Valley But before we end the show for today, doors, could you please give a little bit of recap on your, what you work on, and how people can reach you. Sure.


So my business name of Silicon Valley Speaks and at Silicon Valley Speaks calm. So that's nice and easy. But I work with executives and professionals, startups, people who want to either create a speech or a pitch deck I work with PowerPoint slides with, but basically, I can create your speech, edit your speech work with your body language, so people go away from you going, that was an awesome person. Oh, I will sign up for that guy.


I can't wait to to learn more about presenting myself a little bit better. And do you have any suggestions for me after watching or being interviewed on this show? Now, I


love your smile. You have an awesome natural smile. And believe it or not, that's one of the biggest challenges people have. They think they're smiling when they're not someone. Just one brownie points. We're good. We're have to get it. Oh, okay.


We didn't need makeup for today. Hey. So we're definitely have to get you back on the show. And then there's still a little bit of time left. Okay, so one more tip you'd give to a startup


to a startup is video yourself giving your pitch before you go to a VC? Great advice.


Thank you doors.


Thank you. From all of us at Silicon Valley Successes. We hope you found the information presented today useful in your path to success. For further information on accessing the resources in Silicon Valley. You may visit us on the web at Silicon Valley Successes. com on Facebook and YouTube. Thank you. And remember, we want to help you in your journey to become the next success.


Coaching a Frustrated Founder


So, so as founder, Mm hmm. They have a product. Mm hmm. They've gone to a few investors, they've not raised any funding. And they're frustrated, right? They come to you for help, come to


me. Because typically what I will do will say, OK, pretend I'm the investor. And I want you to give me the pitch that you've been giving. And usually I will say, if you have a slide deck, send it to me before we meet so I can glean a lot, again, from people slide decks, okay, because, again, it's not a little bit about the slide, right? So for me, it's not so much because there's a lot of different opinions out there. You know, a good rule of thumb is 10 to 12 slides, you don't want to slide what people some people are going, you need to start with the team. Other people are saying, you need to start with what it is and why people should care and end with the team for me, I've asked many, many, many people, and it doesn't, in my opinion, doesn't really matter as long as the information you need is there somewhere and also that you're comfortable presenting the information, okay, but for me, I can look at their slide deck. Is it too busy? If it's all text? That's the kiss of death? If there's too many graphs, and there's 18 bars on a graph is too busy? Because people don't think that way. So again, is it clean? Is it too busy? Is it messy? If if you're just handed the slide deck with somebody know what you're trying to say, right? And if it doesn't, then that's where I can start. Okay. And the other thing I'll do is say, Okay, I'm an investor, you know, tell me your pitch. And I'm going to give you 100 million dollars if I liked your pitch, right? No pressure. Yeah. But again, it's like I can tell a lot are they Amanda, we're so like, here's their slide deck and their first slide, but as it takes 10 minutes to talk about this slide, okay. And then they're going, Oh, I know I'm at a time and they fast forward it, but this slide, and then they meander, right. So I can tell a lot by how I think they're losing the investors by how they're presenting. And it could be your like, a lot of people they get nervous they'll do is they'll do they'll do this or like the early messing with their hair or, and it's all usually they don't know they're doing it? Well, it could be clearing their throat, they could if they're standing up, they get the shifting, you know, I know a couple of people and they just have this this action around their throat, right? But they don't know how long would it take them to untrained one of these habits, after you've pointed out to us on what habit is because, again, different habits are formed for different reasons. If they've been doing something since they were a little kid, it'll be harder to end do that habit than if they just started it recently. And surprisingly, people start pick up and lose habits all the time. Unaware typically, the worst habit that people pick up quickly is that the tick with the words like like, you know, you could go for 20 years and never saying like, and all of a sudden by osmosis, who knows where they just start saying, like all the time, that's an easier habit to break then if you've been like doing your eyebrows since you're six years old, okay? Because again, that's a lot longer that you have. So it'll take a lot longer to break that if it's just a stance. Like if you're like, for me, I realized and I didn't know it that I caught my head all the time. Well, so I didn't realize that until I saw myself on camera because I started doing this am I Why am I croc in my head all the time. So now I can through learning that took about six months. Yeah. So again, it just depends on what it is and how long you've been doing it and the big key for me is how coachable you are. Okay, and are you willing to change it and going you can't tell me anything. I already know everything.


10 words tell everything


And it's brilliant. So


when you work with a brand new client, what's kind of the process? Is it Tell me about your business. Now, let's get your 10 words. And now let's take those 10 words and do them in 10 different situations that are now we're doing too much like, what, right? What a new client work with you. I what's the process. So for


me, it's very organic and very individualized. So some people may come to me, I work a lot with one on one and a lot with businesses. So if you come to me, Sean as an individual, and you want to work with me, one on one. And you what we do is basically this right, so I will be just talking, having a casual conversation, because I can glean a lot of information about you in this conversation that you don't even know I'm gleaning. So I will ask questions about so you know, why did you want to seek me out? But tell me about your business? Okay, are you from here? Have you lived overseas? You know, are you married? You like pets? What was the chat, most challenged thing you've ever done? What do you love about doing what you're doing? you're collecting information, collecting information and body language? Because I'm collecting art? Do you talk fast? Do you? Are you talking in a way that's halting? Do you have to stop and think about things before you continue? Are you slow and methodical Are you just like, so I can gather all that information just by a casual conversation, okay. And then I'm also getting more about how I think I could help you and a lot of it is you don't even know it. Okay. So you may have flinches or body movements that you're not aware of. Most people are not aware of what they're doing, because we don't think about it.


Now, when you're getting all this knowledge from a person. Are you later taken notes? Or how would you How would you remember this for the second time you meet the person. So it


depends again, on who I'm with some people, I will meet with them. It's a formal meeting, I will have my notebook out there with their name, because it's customized. And I will tell them I'm By the way, I'm taking notes. And I always photocopy it so they can know the notes that I'm taking, because I'm taking notes not only for me, but also for them. Oh, right. Like they're really good about this, you know, I'm noticing they're doing this, oh, they said, this is their goal. They went to law school for 10 months, but dropped it because and I'll say Why? Because again, all of this is information about what kind of person are they if you're an engineer or a law school person, you have a different way of thinking then if you're an artist, and yet if you're a startup, a lot of startups maybe around art or a creative bat if your startup is around an engineering app you think differently than this person so again it's all about information for me and then also about you that's it yeah


so we're here today on Silicon Valley Successes interview and doors Pickering who is the founder of social Cavalli speaks


back yeah


Analyzing the situation before speaking.


That little bit more about analyzing the situation before you speak, right?


So that takes a lot of experience. And the one of the biggest things that it takes is confidence in yourself. So that's, it's all like your mindset. So again, people think that you can just practice practice, which I always encourage that you do on a practice that is practicing, what what are you practicing? So it could be, I need to nail my 32nd elevator pitch. Like if you're in a networking meeting, or if you're at the chamber and you're going to an event and 50 people say, so, Sean, what is it that you do you want to have a good pitch that will pique their interest, not bore them and not think as it can pitch. But again, if you're talking to Sally, and she's an insurance agent, and you're talking to Joe, and he's a fellow startup, hopefully, you'd be saying two different things because they're their experience and their understanding level is different. So again, if you know who you're talking to, you can tailor your pitch. So say


it's a room of strangers. Uh huh. Would you ask them questions first, before going into your pitch? Or how would you kind of analyze who you're talking to, if they're all strangers right


before you before speaking to them? Well, that's helpful if they have a name tag, and you can kind of sort of see what they do. But a lot of times, people's names of their business don't give you much guidance on what they do. So if someone says, So, Sean, what do you do, then? You Silicon Valley Successes? Yeah, you could have Silicon Valley Successes. So I'm going oh, well, what is what does that tell me more about that. So like, in 10 or 15 seconds, you can tell me a little bit. Oh, that's really great. Because this is what I do. And that that's how a really good conversation starts at a networking event. So it's not just your can 30 seconds, because people's attention span is seven seconds. Oh, if you go into 30 seconds, they're going to go. What a dunderhead, right? I'm tired of listening this guy already. And it's only been 20 seconds. So people's attention spans is 22nd, I mean, at seven seconds, which is why a standard elevator pitch of 30 seconds is often too long. Interesting. So do you practice a short as I can. So I teach people how to say what you do in 10 words or less. So people freak out going 10 words. I can never say what I do in 10 words, but it's actually very easy once you get to what is the compelling thing about what is it that you have to say and again that the other trick is you don't want just one again, you went several of them depending on who you're talking to. And the beautiful thing is once you get the great tan words statement that seven seconds if you're talking in a normal pace and so that somebody's attention span




Who am I selling in my Pitch


And then Silicon Valley. It sounds like it's more business coaching than just speaking or are those to related. It's all one in the game, because the one in the same, because to have a strong business, guess what you get to do, you get to talk to people about it. So if you're stumbling over how do you, how do you sell this glass of water. This is the best glass of water on the planet because it's not too long. It's not too short. It keeps your cold drink, you know, your drinks cold.  that keeps some hot, you have to sell that because guess what, there's a Million Cups out there. Yeah. So again, if you don't have down pat the explanation of why people should choose this cup versus that cup, again, that will impede you from getting more market share and attention. It's all about visibility. So you have to be able to sell yourself and your product in different types of situations. Whether you're at a dinner party, you're on the golf course, you're still selling yourself, no matter where you are. And a lot of people don't think that way. They're just thinking about I'm going to do this pitch to this investor. And I have to say this, this this, but again,


your next investor may be at the barbecue down the street for Labor Day,


right? That may be the next investor. So are you going to just if somebody says, so what do you do? Are you just going to hit them with that can speech Yeah, because nobody wants to listen to that. So again, that's a lot of what I work with people is if you're in this situation, you want to say it this way. If you're in this situation, nobody cares. Okay, go there. Right. So again, if you just logically thinking where are you Who will you be talking about what do we think they want to hear? Talk about


Who am I selling in my Pitch


just you know, that's a


different value proposition. Then if you have you have the team of one, the most important team. But again, if you have, say, 10 people, who are those 10 people? And are you thinking critically strategically and intentionally where each person has their own specific role? Or are you going this is my best friend, George. And I really like Sally too. So I just thought I'd bring them along with me. And they really don't have any experience. And oh, by the way, they don't like each other, right? So that'll be the kiss of death. If people are looking at your org chart and going, So who are these people? And why are they there? And they don't care if they're your best friend from kindergarten. Yeah, they want to know that you as a CEO, or the leader of your startup can make these decisions wisely, that will propel your company because that is the way the investors are going to get their money back. And so if you're stumbling out of the get go from that decisions, bringing on your team, again, that will be a really impediment to you upfront interest. So if you have a team you need to be really thoughtful about who those team members are and how you have them set up.

Two questions to answer when talking to investors


Correct. Okay. So if I come to you, and I say I want to tailor my message specifically to talk to investor Mm hmm. What would your recommendation be for that? And


that would depend on are you at doing the angel seed or the early round investor if you've already been funded? So because


they're different conversations? How about let's go the angel. And actually, let's go to the seed very early friends or family, and then let's move up, right.


So that the early stages, you really need to bring forth your passion and answer the question. There's two questions your eyes want to answer. So what and why should anybody care? Okay, right? Because, again, at the end of the day, no matter who you're talking to, you need to keep those two in mind. Okay? Because if, if you're selling something that's been out in the market for 20 years, and it's just another flavor, typically, that will be a who cares, right? Okay, nobody's gonna get excited over that, that the excitement really starts with you. So you need a community, educate your excitement about it and evangelize your own products in a way where other people will go, Wow, that's really cool. Okay, even if they really don't understand your product, or they're kind of doubtful about it, if you can convince them with your passion, and that you totally believe in it. A lot of people will get beyond the that stage and go, you know what, I'm just gonna keep pursuing that because I believe in you, and then go to the next stage, seriously, at the very beginning, the earliest stage of a startup trying to raise funds, right? It's to convince the person through their message with passion, correct? Okay, what about the next stage? So the next stage, that's where you still really need to bring your passion, but people will really want to know, so what's in it for me? Like, if you're wanting me to be an investor? Okay, why would I want to be an investor? So again, that's where I'm listening to, is again, your passion? And do you really believe in you, okay? Because if you don't believe in you, then people will feel that energy. And they'll typically walk because, again, as a bar, first bar that you have to meet, do you believe in your product? And again, if so, why? And then what's the next stage? So that's where you really want to hone in on, you know, the return on investment? Who is your team? So do you have experienced as your team have experience? Why would I, as an investor want to believe that you are a good CEO to manage the business part? Okay, so but by that, who have you chosen to be part of your team, because that's one of the first decisions that you will be making. And if you blow it on that then again, you're not a good decision maker. Interesting. So


talking about that. So I'm selling my company and myself as the same time correct with my emotion, my passion but really emphasizing the team at the same time I'm kind of confused I


going well, but the team is critical if you have a team because again, if you're early early in it and