Pitch Perfect, Grand Rounds Style
Categories: #LifeAtGR, Eng
I recently celebrated my fifth Grandiversary! In the Bay Area, five years is a long time to stay at one company—some may even call me a lifer. I joined Grand Rounds after completing my PhD and postdoc in bioengineering and while I loved my work as a bioengineer, the path to making a significant impact on human health was a lengthy one. By working in Data Science at Grand Rounds, I’ve meaningfully influenced patient lives, and it’s their stories that keep pushing me towards our goal of raising the standard of healthcare for everyone, everywhere.
Over the years, I’ve explained “Why Grand Rounds” hundreds of times. And admittedly, while in my head I know the why, I still don’t have a quick and compelling company pitch. Do I play to the heart and describe a personal healthcare story? Do I give context about the products we offer? Do I describe the interesting technical challenges we face? Do I talk about the financial and social opportunity? Or do I talk about our amazing team? I decided to crowdsource the answer by putting on a contest called “Pitch Perfect”.
Our Perfect Pitch
We asked contestants to describe “why Grand Rounds” in three minutes or less. It was a supportive and encouraging space where eleven people bravely presented in front of the company, vying for an exciting prize (delicious noms, obviously). The result? All presentations were truly pitch perfect. Each included some combination of the themes I described earlier, but were also distinct in what they emphasized. The experience was incredibly motivational for the team, reminding us all why we joined Grand Rounds and why we’ve stayed, articulated through the words of those we respect most: our coworkers.
What Makes a Pitch Great?
After rounding up the best of the best from our presentations, we landed on three strategies for effective pitches.
- Draw your audience in
Start by asking the audience questions—make your pitch personal to them. Once you have their attention, share a bit of your own story and make sure to include a balance of heart and reason. Your personal story can then help to paint a picture of the problem(s) you’re trying to solve. As you aim to connect with your audience, it’s important you evoke self-confidence. If you’re not fully bought into the content you’re presenting, they won’t be either.
- Outline the opportunity
Now that your audience is engaged, it’s time to reveal the compelling (and accurate) data that supports the vision and opportunity you’re conveying. While data is exciting, it also raises a lot of questions, so make sure you answer the important the “who’s”, “what’s”, and why’s”. A few examples if you’re pitching a company:
- Who the company is
- Why the team is great
- What makes the work fun (talk about the technical challenges)
- Type of career growth opportunities that exist
- What impact the company will have
- Call the audience to action
They’re captivated, genuinely curious, and are ready for what’s next. This is your opportunity to motivate your audience to act. Your goal could be to motivate your audience to join the company, fund your business, hire you, or simply learn more. Whatever your CTA is, do your best to convey what’s in it for them so they see your ask as a personal win for them rather than another thing on their to-do list.
How to Host a Pitch Perfect Contest of Your Own
Explaining why you do what you do is incredibly important to continually motivate yourself, align with co-workers, build awareness, and develop a strong team. Further, when you switch jobs, a self-pitch helps you internalize whether the choice is right for you.
So here’s your homework: go stand in front of a mirror and give yourself your pitch. Work on it until you arrive at your perfect pitch. If you are feeling more ambitious, host a pitch contest at your company, and benefit from the narratives of those around you. And if you find that something isn’t quite resonating, (shameful plug) Grand Rounds is hiring!