Two years ago, Johanna Joch, VP and General Manager of Speechagain, participated in the German Accelerator program in New York and wrapped up the program by winning the Best Pitch Award at German Startup Night. Back then, the trained speech therapist spent several hours working with one of our pitch coaches. At the end of 2019, she became a coach herself, hosting a workshop on business communication for the German Accelerator New York Class 2019-4. After the session, we wanted to know what it felt like to now be “on the other side” as a coach, and of course we also picked her brain about her top public speaking tips.
It was amazing! I definitely felt different being on the “other side” of things, but I know how they were all feeling, as I was in their position not long ago! Seeing all the new companies with so much potential and incredible ideas reminded me of my own passion and I was happy to give back to this community.
Well for starters, it’s very important to warm up your voice. The worst-case scenario would be having an incredible message to share but not being able to do so because you lost your voice! Another tip is to practice good vocal hygiene. Not only should you hydrate and drink lots of water, but it’s also important to avoid coffee and alcohol the night before or morning of, as they can be very drying to your vocal cords. My number one tip though is to know your audience! Connecting with your audience may require you to change your communication style or adapt your presentation, depending on who you are speaking to. Gaining their attention and respect is key!
Yes of course, I was super nervous! Luckily, I had the opportunity to practice with German Accelerator mentors, such as pitch trainer Joe Dolce, and main mentors Samer Hamadeh and David Schoenberger. I made sure my speech was well prepared and I ran through it many, many times – not only at home, but also on stage.
It’s been very beneficial! German Accelerator is not only supportive, it is also an incredible network. I have met and connected with professionals in the technology, business, startup, and entrepreneurial world, all thanks to my participation in the program.