A crash course to the value of storytelling in your business pitch 

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On March 31, the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI) Timely Topics series presented on becoming an effective storyteller in and out of a business pitch. Program Assistant Michaela Hartl moderated the session and Rory McGloin, a CCEI communications consultant, served as the guest speaker. McGloin conducts virtual talks on ways to improve communication skills in professional settings. 

McGloin presented the 4 H method for people to be a better storyteller: heart, humility, honesty and humor. Humans need to use their heart and be genuine in their stories, he said. He also explained the importance of honesty in the workplace, showing humility and being self-aware. McGloin mentioned using humor to tell a more memorable story for your listeners as well. 

McGloin also presented the history of communication. He provided a diagram of “The Process of Communication,” which represents the source, the message, channel or mode of communicating and the receiver. With unlimited technology opportunities, McGloin stressed the importance of choosing a channel based on personal strengths. 

“What channel are you likely to find, that your audience most likely pays attention to?” asked McGloin. “Is it Instagram, Facebook, face-to face? Those decisions are critical before you even go to encode your message. The channel is going to dictate what you can and can’t do.” 

McGloin encouraged attendees to understand their own strengths, such as in photography, public speaking or writing and use them to tell stories through the medium or channel of their own choice. Being creative in how you portray a message is key to a great business pitch, he explained. 

McGloin discussed the hot topic of the Internet in today’s job interview climate. Employers will use the Internet to search candidates prior to a job interview. To prepare, McGloin advised students to promote credibility and knowledge of a topic on all platforms. 

“You as a storyteller, must be able to assess how they will perceive your credibility,” said McGloin. “When you step forth in a room to pitch, if they are processing peripherally, they are leaning heavily on your credibility, in that given moment, before you have even opened your mouth.” 

Since the presentation was aimed for young business entrepreneurs, McGloin gave advice for any speaker seeking to improve their credibility and job status and relieve workplace anxieties. His main tips include improving your reliability, adapting to the audience by using professional jargon, providing empathy and remembering that employers are also humans, and using a known, credible source to introduce or endorse you. 

McGloin offered a way to make a lasting impression during the traditionally short business pitches. He exemplified that in a five minute pitch, raise the stakes of the offer by minute three.  

McGloin explained making your pitch sound like a life necessity. When the stakes of the pitch are raised, employers or investors are more likely to be compelled by the idea. 

He  believes  good storytelling is possible, if done correctly. He noted the hit television shows “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office.” Both shows take place in normal, mundane work environments. They became well-known stories because of the great storytelling, the use of humor, heart and relatability. The example emphasized the point that fictional characters selling paper in a suburban town can make a great story. 

For those preparing a business pitch in the near future, McGloin offered three takeaways to improve your story: having a goal or wanting something, being able to measure the outcome and leaving the meeting knowing that you were persuasive. In the business world, being persuasive is a form of success, he said during the session. 

Timely Topics offers multiple thirty-minute presentations to improve your effectiveness as an employee. They will be hosting “The Relationship Between Creativity and Burnout” with Nova Lorraine on Wednesday, April 6 at 11 a.m. More information on upcoming presentations is available at UConn’s Timely Topics webpage. 

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