The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Jay Mays on How to "Own" a Room and Increase Your Presentation Skills


Most of us fear public speaking. That’s a problem in client-facing professions like sales, where presentation skills can make or break relationships.

So why don’t more of us actively try to break out of our shells and practice what we pitch? Jay Mays, Co-Founder of Pitch Lab, thinks that a solution is rooted in stand-up comedy. We sat down with Mays to learn how his experience in stand-up comedy helped him become a better sales professional and inspire others to do the same.

Youere listening to the BTB revenueexecutive experience, a podcast dedicated El: U executives train theirsales and marketing teams to optimize growth, whether you're looking fortechniques and strategies were tools and resources. Youve come to the rightplace. Let's accelerate your growth in three to one: welcome everyone to the Bto b Revenue Executive Experience, I'm your host Chadd Sanderson today we'retalking with J mayze about pitch lab and how you can better own a room andincrease your presentation. Skills J want to thank you very much for takingyour time to be on the show today. Thank you chat. I appreciate you havingme so before we get started. We like to ask random questions of our guests,something that helps people make that human connection, so any hobbies thatyou have that people would be surprised to learn about or passions outside ofwork. Well, that you more talk about that's right!That's right! Exactly O! I work a ton. I have two young kids trying to Tryn tokeep all the balls in the air, but the one thing that I do that I'm not doingenough is float texts. Hever heard of isolation: Thanks have you heard aboutthis so like in the dark like float in the dark with like century deprevation?Yes, yes, Joe Rogan, he's got a he's, got a great podcast, I'm sure you'veheard of as well. He talked a lot about it and reallypiqued my interest, so I started trying it. I do it about once a month but yeah,it's like a it's like a coffin that they fill up. Oy, I'm really notkidding. They fill up with a ball about six inches of water and then they dumpin about eight hundred pounds of epsin salt. So you fload on top and then,when you shut the LID, you lose pretty much all five of your senses, so it'sso dark in there. You can't see your eyes open and your eyes shut, you'reperceiving the same thing. You can't hear anything you can't. You can't feelanything because the water you're floating and it's the same temperaturehas your body and then you can't taste...

...anything obviously, but when you takeaway those senses and you take away that noise, you lay there for half hourhour. It's just it's very interesting where your mind takes you, so thatwould be the most interesting thing that I got going on that I'd love to bedoing more of. I have to have to think. If you locked me in there, it would belike maybe I'd have you know flashback all the assid right, like I meanseriously, like your brains, got to go some pretty weird places. That's it! Oh,no! Yeah! Absolutely you! You turn on yourself. You think about all thevisualization of the things you want to do and every time has been different,so you can't just go once and expect that to be. Like your opinion, you gotto give it like at least two or three times to really understand it, but it's yeah. It's fantastic. Idefinitely recommend if, if you want to go just type in float tank and thenwhatever city you're in and lots of opportunities pop up, so there you go.That is the most fascinating. That is the most fastatin. The answer to thatquestion I have had that is awesome. Thank you for that. Thank you forat. Sotoday we want to focus on pitch lab, but before we do that before you godeep into that, tell our audience how you got started in sales and how thatled to bitch pitch lab and how the comedy element rolls all into it. YeahYeah. So my my experience is on a twenty year:Sales Guy and seven years as as a stand up comic. If you didn't know Chad, Iwas one of the biggest names ind Dunver, unpaid comedy. No, but seven years is a stand. UFCOMEDIAN, twenty years is sales, and I always thought that the idea ofan open Mike Righte that that comedians are always out there once to threetimes a night hitting these Mikes, whether there's an audience or not, tohone their skills to practice their material just to get up there and work.That muscle was always so fascinating, but all throughout my sales career...

...every time, you're pitching it's likeit's for steaks and- and you know, you're- cutting your teeth on potentialopportunities that you're missing out on you combine that with denvers got afantastic entrepreneurial startup scene, there's a bunch of entrepreneurs thatare learning how to pitch while being in front of investors, and that's notthe right time. So I thought: Hey Man, what if we could come up with some typeof open Mike for Sales people for entrepreneurs to get better at theirpitch, so when it came time to really shine, they were ready to go so thatwas the the beginning of it. It's evolved into more curriculum, it'sevolved into a life of its own, but but really at the beginning was howdo I differentate myself as a consultant? How do I build my brand andthe intersection of sales and comedy for me, really is Pitchlab Welland, aswe were doing the warmup? Probably not the right word but as we're talkingbefore we have record you Wule tell me a story about how you got that firstpitch lab book. I would love if you would recount that for the audience,because it's an excellent example of you've got an idea and sometimes justvoicing it to the right people all of a sudden kicks in a bunch of momentum,absolutely absolutely yeah and even back to Seth God, and that that fuck itship it like yeah, let's role it it so so yeah. Iwas kicking around the idea. Saying Hey, you know what would you think about salespeople making pitches and insteadof you know, shork tank, where people were criticizing the content of thepitch? It was more standup Comedians, Improv, coaches, storytellers, givingfeedback on on the techniques on the public speaking and and things likethat and the presentation of performance. So I was at lunch with myfriend Rjo and who you know as well and talking about the idea, and he said youknow what that's a fantastic idea. I think my friend of galvinies wouldreally like to do that. So I said: Okay Cool, you know, thinking hey, he likesthe idea, let's see where it goes. By the time lunch was over, I drove home,he had already emailed Galvanis Galvan.

I said it sounds like a fantastic ideaand we had our pilot set for the end of last August. Just like that- and I waslike- Oh God, okay, I guess we got Ta, we got. We got to get this thingtogether. OKAIYEU, that's right! IHT, setting that setting that but and againa lot of the motivational guys out there talk about putting yourself intoa situation setting that deadline where you're, ready or not and thenscrambling towards that, getting what seventy eighty percent on test learniterate for there. So I definitely owe rj a lot and getting the ball rollingand that that ignition of Fitch lab- and so when was that first one whenjust from a timeline stamp od August, thirty, first of last year so AugustSeptember, octob yeah, so we're about fourteen months old. Now, Okay andhow's it been going any surprises yeah, I would say so. When I startedout, I thought it was going to be all about sales people right and an onlysales people would be through the door and what I've learned is a lot ofpeople want these presentation, skills outside of sales, and it's reallyturned into more of a client facing opportunity, whether you're, a salesengineer and evangelist and account manager, a project manager, a tech guythat has to do sprint, Damos or even executives that want to you know brushup on on how to be more engaging in front of teams. So so the fact that somany people have embraced and has been fantastic. Actually on that, let me letme ask you: According to studies, the number onefear of the average American is public. Speaking that that's an actualstatistic, the number one fearis public speaking. Do you know what number twois death? Actually, it's trumps next tweet, no, it's you're right! You're right isdeath, so number one is public.

Speaking number to is death and JerrySeinfeld's got an awesome joke and he says so if you're, the average Americanand you go to a funeral Ho'd rather be in the casket than give the? U LogiRight. So so it really and I'm not saying that we're solving we're solvingthe fear of public speaking. But I think that's what drives a lot ofpeople is. You know you get to a certain point in your career and youhave to talk in front of people, whether it's four or five coworkers oryou know, you're in a sales pitch and the entire executive team shows up andyou're in front of ten or twelve people. That creates a bit of anxiety and thenthe other stat that that I've learned along the way is in some cases your nonverbal communication can makeup to even ninety three percent of what you're communicating right. So YourVoice, your body, language, is up to ninety three percent of what you'retotally communicating and by example, of that, as have you ever gotten in ina fight with your wife over text message, because she couldn'tunderstand or somebody apologizes to you, and theydon't really mean it because you could tell by their body language and theirvoice, it's those type of things and then the other thing is. I mean youand your personal life. How many times have you bailed, O on buying a productor a service, or maybe think back to the last car you bought because youdidn't like the salesperson e ow, its yeah right or for how many times haveyou been snookered into buying something because you just like the guyor the Gal and you're just like you know what I'm just going to go aheadand I'm Goina, so itsfires were Morse kicks in you gotit, you got it, but, but I really believe I mean in some cases, if you'reselling a super cool product and you're able to you know you got your rightbrand message. You got your right positioning. Your differentiatedfantastic, you know you don't need to worry about this, but even back whenyou and I worked in professional services, I truly believe the client facing teambecomes the differentiator. You know an... professional services, a secialcorrept, I mean they're, buying the people and the expertise and the waythey interact and connect with them. They're, not necessarily buying theservice mean of Shit. Other people did the same thing we did, but it was theteams that you put in from in the way that they interact and connected atmade all the difference. You got it, you got it so that was the that was theimpatus tere. I hope I direct both directly and indirectly answer thatquestion. It was perfect. It's funny that youtalk about public speaking. I was literally driving on my Communie thismorning. Listening to you- and I were talking about him before we hid recordanthody, an arena is podcast in the arena and heas talking to the guy. McGill is his last name just released abook called psyched up and he was talking about hows. He was researchingthe book. It seems like from what they've been able to uncover that thestage fright actually came from the genesis of it was once the stage gotlit and the audience was in the dark. Something happened to increase thatanxiety to the point where it became that number one fear I mean I'll, bethe first to admit I stayd in front of rooms all the time talking and I everytime every damn time I get. You know the butterflies kick in, like I'mthinking to myself all the other places I'd rather be than standing in front ofthat room, so that fear is, is quite compelling, and so you knowhaving something that helps people get over. It makes them feel morecomfortable, thinkit's, extremely powerful thing to bring to the market.That's awesome, yeah and same with me. I mean I'm still doing pitchlab. Wejust did Denver start up week. It was a room of over two hundred. I knew thecontent, I knew what I was doing and I was just I was freaking out. You know oactually nervous D, because man, I've seen you and you avevery time, but itgoes away once I start so what they say, and we talk about this in the pitchlabworkshop, but it's not about killing the butterflies, it's about gettingthem to fly in formation, and so what that fases? It's is Furald. Follow me here: it'snot about calming down it's about...

...reframing that anxiety as excitement.So basically what you're really trying to do is reframe it, because becausewhat science shows us is whether you're, anxious or excited your body on aphysical level is reacting very close to the same way. So if you repeat theMontra, I am excited, I am excited you're reframing, those feelings andthen using that as positive energy on the stage and then usually after thefirst minute or two you get your first laugh you get out there you're doing alot better, but I think it's a natural, basically a primitive instinct, to feelthat it's just your job to reframe that and to say this is excitement. Thisisn't nervousness. It doesn't always happen. I mean I still get like.Sometimes I'm, like man, I'm really nervous about this, but over time,you're feeling that and you're using that energy. You know to really bring agreat energy to the stage and so out of the pitch lapes at you guys have done.Is there a team that was pitching or somebody that was pitching, that you'veheard that you Ereis the most memorable for you? Oh, so, let's go back to demor start apweek because that's still fresh in my mind on Wednesday night. We did this. It wasmostly a fun event. It was a little bit educational, but a lot of fun and wecalled it. The Battle of the startups entrepreneurs, verse Comedians, and sowhat we did is we had two of the best entrepreneurs in Denver go head to headagainst two of the funniest comedians in Denver, and I gave them each a funnypitch topic. So the pitch topics were things like, so they had to pretendlike they were entrepreneurs with this idea, and then I had a panel ofComedians and Improv coaches and storytellers that were actually judging,and so the ideas were like. I had one guy do energy drinks for zoo animals, so so the problem was, zoos are boringand attendances are down, so he invented an organic all natural energydrink to hop up the animal conmit ees...

...more exciting. We did. We did meat water, which wasindustrial farming, is killing the environment. So why don't we? Why don'twe find a new way to get protein out of animals VIAV Osmosis, so they'resoaking cows to get protein out of them and it's called a mewater anyway. Sothe answer question directly Anthony Franko- I don't know if you know himbut old, founder of Eui, effective Ui and he doets MC squares. He did thredcheese printers and I'm telling you he destroyed I've never seen somebody do.I mean he had three dmotion graphics in his presentation. He had cad models. Hebrought a. He brought a a prototype, he put on a lab coat. Hehad the emotion he had, the Stui mean he destroyed it and the entrepreneurisactually yeah. They actually beat the Comedians in that. But what I likeabout bringing those fake pitches and having people do that is when you getthe you know, you get that shark tank out of there. Well, I don't believethat that's the market cap or, I don't believe, that's the right strategy.When you do a lighter sillier pitch, you could focus on technique right. Youcould focus on the delivery, the room command the storytelling and then beable to bring those skills into into you know the true work that you do soit was. It was fun it was entertaining, but it was also, I think, real usefulto be able to you know. We talked about right before the show getting your ownhead out of it to be able to focus on it, and would you say, get theweedwackaround and raise your hat a little bit more. So it's a real, powerful tool to beable to do those funny pitchers and what's the feedback been from attendsthat have ave, you know come to the events. What and what are they hopingto get out of it when they get there yeah? So I would say most people are arecurious right they number one. They want to pull back the curtain on theworld of Standup, comedy and Improv comedy and figure out what these folksare doing. That's on stage, that's so...

...fantastic that makes them seem soeffortless and then the other thing is they're. Looking for that, thatactionable actionable takeaway to be able to bring to work the next day. Sowe run through, I would say, basically, seven different modules, sevendifferent techniques from how to how to deal with those butterflies to room command, meaning breaking thefourth wall. Are you familiar with that term? Breaking the fourth wall? Yes,yes, yeah! So so things like you know, never ignore interruptions. If you'represent in the room, if you see see it, you feel it. Your audience feels thatyou got to call it things even like you know your stagepresence, never stand behind a podium right, get out behind the podium. Youraudience needs to see you to trust you. These are little things and in salespitches. I see so many sales guys sitting behind a laptop where theirlaptop is up right and it's like a game of battleshit and it's like you know. I appreciate you might needto pitch with that laptop but position it so that energy right. It's all thisnonverbal communication. The other thing is a lot of people comeand they say I have problems with. I talk too fast people tell me I'mtalking too fast or I do too many ums and azs or hey. I want to tell morestories what are the Best Practices for storytelling? You know if it's a bigger stage, theysay how do I? Where do I stand? Do I pas to I notpaye to I stand still? What do I do? I mean I think, there's just really aneed for these basic techniques to give people some tools so t, so they canhave that and then be able to not think about it after they have the tools andthen really focus on connecting and being authentic, and you know, work inthe room and selling. But I think when, when you get on stage there for lack ofthe better rure o get in that spotlight, your brain, if, if you're processingtoo many things and running cycles on too many things, it's really takingaway from from what that message is and moving the ball forward and that youknow in the sales process. Excellent,... are there other people involved inPitch Lavany partners or individuals? You like the highlight yeah. We talkedabout RJ, RJ, Owen, Christian, Whitney he's a local guy here, he's ourcreative director he's the guy that built our brand and all our assets, andhe made us. You know look pro from day. One Tommy Wi is one of our standupcomedy coaches. David Sodo helps us with digital marketing, and then we got abunch of panelists right folks that that help give actionable feedback.HEIGTA mguire here in town, Joe Lutsis, does our Improv Tim Schissler, who I'mdoing a workshop with he's a major storyteller and then a ton of greatcomedians Oure. Next, our next pitch lab next week, starring Ben Kromberg-and I don't know if you know Ben but he's been AP, yeah, comsexual and lastcomic standing. So you know to be able to bring that level of fame into aworkshop. I'm really happy about that and another local guys, Jd Lopez,Daniel Reskin, all of a sudden ti is turning into an academy award hold on. Let me get my paper, so Idon't forget anybody but yeah. No, it's not it's a team effort. You know it'sabsolutely a team effort to do this and you know I can bring a lot of value,but these guys are all bringing great perspectives to help give the feedbackto the you know the local professionals here. So I'm real grateful for thoseguys, excellent Jay. If the listeners interested finding out more about pitchlab ord ut connecting with you what are the best ways to do that, yeah yeah, pitchlob, dot, IA, pitchlab,dot Io, it's got our blog on there, some pastevents some of the great workwe done with local agencies. Americorps. We didan awesome, Improv comedy workshop. An then. If you want to contact me rightthrough the sign up for the email contact me through the website, it'sall there pitch lab bio excellent. I can't think yon a few times I Jay'sbeen great having you on the show, thanks for having me Chad, all right,everyone that does it for this episode. Please check us out of btob. Revizeccomshare the episode with you, friends,...

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