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How do entrepreneurs hone their pitches?

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Explores how innovators in a pitch competition learned how to revise their pitches to better attract stakeholder.

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How do entrepreneurs hone their pitches?

  1. 1. How do entrepreneurs hone their pitches? Analyzing how pitch presentations develop in a technology commercialization competition Clay Spinuzzi et al.
  2. 2. Authors ◻ Clay Spinuzzi, University of Texas ◻ Gregory Pogue, IC2 ◻ R. Scott Nelson, University of Texas ◻ Keela S. Thomson, UCLA ◻ Francesca Lorenzini, IC2 ◻ Rosemary A. French, University of Texas ◻ Sidney D. Burback, IC2 ◻ Joel Momberger, IC2
  3. 3. The situation ◻ Korean innovators want to ◻ become global entrepreneurs ◻ commercialize their innovations ◻ To do so, they entered a training program structured as a pitch competition. ◻ 200 applicants ◻ By the pitch phase, just 25 ◻ These 25 have received training, feedback, and technology commercialization reports (“Quicklooks”)
  4. 4. Title with pic hdo.utexas.edu The genres leading to the pitch
  5. 5. The gap ◻ Although some studies have explored how pitches are received… ◻ Few studies examine how these pitches are developed and revised. ◻ Spinuzzi, C., Nelson, R. S., Thomson, K. S., Lorenzini, F., French, R. A., Pogue, G., Burback, S., & Momberger, J. (2014). Making the Pitch: Examining Dialogue and Revisions in Entrepreneurs ’ Pitch Decks. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 57(3), 158–181. ◻ Spinuzzi, C., Nelson, R. S., Thomson, K. S., Lorenzini, F., French, R. A., Pogue, G., Burback, S., & Momberger, J. (2015). Remaking the pitch: Reuse strategies in entrepreneurs’ pitch decks. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 58(1), 45–68.
  6. 6. Research Questions ◻ RQ1: What kinds of feedback did presenters receive in the Quicklook® reports and training? ◻ RQ2: What changes did they make to individual pitch arguments between training and final pitches? ◻ RQ3: Do these changes correspond with favorable judges' scores?
  7. 7. Data collection ◻ Selected four firms (K6008, K6010, K6015, K6017) for close analysis ◻ Videorecorded training pitches ◻ Videorecorded trainer’s feedback on training pitches ◻ Collected Quicklooks ◻ Videorecorded final pitches ◻ Collected copies of judges’ score sheets
  8. 8. Data analysis ◻ Paraphrased spoken words, slides, and visible actions in training presentations and final presentations ◻ Paraphrased conversational turns in trainer’s feedback videos and in Q&A segments of final presentations ◻ Coded data using open coding approach
  9. 9. RQ1: What kinds of feedback did presenters receive in the Quicklooks and training? ◻ Structure: In deviating from the template, some key claims had been eliminated; trainer identified these and suggested they be re- inserted. ◻ Claims and evidence: Trainer suggested rebuttals, qualifiers, and additional evidence. ◻ Engagement: Trainer suggested and/or gave feedback on engagement strategies: demonstrations, stories, questions.
  10. 10. RQ2: What changes did presenters make to arguments between training and final pitches? ◻ Structure: Three adjusted slides to better address concerns in the Quicklook; K6008 ignored key suggestions. ◻ Claims and evidence: Three revised claims and arguments in individual slides; K6008 ignored key suggestions. ◻ Engagement: Trainer suggested changes to K6008, K6010, K6015; K6008 ignored suggestions but did add videos of product.
  11. 11. RQ3: Do these changes correspond with favorable judge scores? ◻ The question is not as straightforward as it appears: ◻ Judges had already read Quicklooks. ◻ Presenters were limited in options: Could adjust arguments, but not design or use. ◻ Ultimately, adjustments to the presentation seemed to sway judges on marginal cases but could not rescue hard cases. ◻ Maybe K6008’s approach made sense.
  12. 12. Implications for program ◻ Pitch competition tends to conflate different categories of feedback (structure; claims and evidence; engagement). ◻ Pitch competition artificially narrows repertoire of pivots: argument, but not design or use. ◻ Pitch competition currently supplies Quicklooks to competitors too late and without enough guidance; firms often can’t assimilate and respond adequately.
  13. 13. Implications for research ◻ Studies of the pitch in professional communication are still relatively rare, and accounts of their rhetorical decisions are rarer still. ◻ Entrepreneurship involves rhetorical dimensions that go beyond spoken and textual arguments. Choices of Design and Use are also rhetorical. If you want to help fill this research hole...
  14. 14. Calls for papers ◻ Special Issue of IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication on Entrepreneurship Communication (December 2016) ◻ Special Issue of the Journal of Business and Technical Communication on the Rhetoric of Entrepreneurship: Theories, Methodologies, and Practices (July 2017) http://spinuzzi.blogspot.com/2015/04/two-calls-for-proposals-on.html

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