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

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

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.

You were listening to the BDB revenueexecutive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping the executives train their sales and marketingteams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools andresources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three,two, one. Welcome everyone to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience.I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking with Jay May's about pitchlab and how you can better own a room and increase your presentation skills.Jay, I want to thank you very much for taking your time to beon the show today. Thank you chat. I appreciate you having me so beforewe get started, we like to ask random questions of our guests,something that help people make that human connection. So any hobbies that you have thatpeople would be surprised to learn about our passions outside of work? Well, that's more talk about. That's right, that's right, exactly. Now Iwork a ton, I have two young kids, trying to trying tokeep all the balls in the air, but the one thing that I dothat I'm not doing enough is float tanks. Ever heard of isolation tanks. Haveyou heard about this? So like in a dark, like float inthe dark with a century deprivation. Yes, yes, Joe Rogan, he's gota he's got a great podcast I'm sure you've heard of as well.He talked a lot about it and really piqued my interests, so I startedtrying it. I do it about once a month, but yeah, it'slike a it's like a coffin that they fill up on me. I'm reallynot kidding. They fill up with about about six inches of water and thenthey dump in about eight hundred pounds of EPPs and salt. So you floaton top and then when you shut the lid, you lose pretty much allfive of your senses. So it's so dark in there you can't see.Your Eyes Open and your eyes shut, you're perceiving the same thing. Youcan't hear anything, you can't you can't feel anything because the water you're floatingand it's the same temperature as your body.

And then you can't taste anything,obviously. But when you take away those senses and you take away thatnoise, you lay there for a half hour hour, it's just it's veryinteresting where your mind takes you. So that would be the the most interestingthing that I got going on that I'd love to be doing more of.I have to have think if you locked me in there, it would belike maybe I'd have, you know, flashback all the assid right. Imean seriously, like your brains got to go some pretty weird places. That'sit? Oh, no, yeah, absolutely. You. You. Youturn on yourself. You think about all the visualization of the things you wantto do and every time has been different. So you can't just go once andexpect that to be like your opinion. You got to give it like atleast two or three times to really understand it. But it's yeah,it's fantastic. I definitely recommend if if you want to go, just typein float tank and then whatever city or in and lots of opportunity these popup. So there you go. That is the most fascinating. That isthe most fascinating answer to that question I have had. That is awesome.Thank you for that. Thank you for so today we want to focus onpitch lab but before we do that, before you go deep into that,tell our audience how you got started in sales and how that led to bitchpitch lab and how the comedy element rolls all into it. Yeah, yeah, so my my experiences on a twenty year sales guy and seven years asa as a stand up comic. If you didn't know, Chad I wasone of the biggest names in Denver. Unpaid comedy, no, but sevenyears is a standup comedian. Twenty years of sales and I always thought thatthe idea of an open mic right, that that comedians are always out there, once too three times at night, hitting these mics, whether there's anaudience or not, to hone their skills, to practice their material, just toget up there and work that muscle was always so fascinating. But allthroughout my sales career, every time you're...

...pitching it's like it's for stakes andand you know you're cutting your teeth on potential opportunities that you're missing out on. You combine that with Denver's got a fantastic entrepreneurial startup scene. There's abunch of entrepreneurs that are learning how to pitch while being in front of investorsand that's not the right time. So I thought, Hey, man,what if we could come up, if some type of open mic for salespeople, for entrepreneurs, to get better at their pitch so when it cametime to really shine, they were ready to go. So that was thebeginning of it. It's evolved into more curriculum, it's evolved into a lifeof its own. But but really at the beginning was how do I differentiatemyself as a consultant? How do I build my brand? And at theintersection of sales and comedy, for me really is pitch lab. Well,and as we were doing the warm up, probably not the right word, butas we're talking before we hit record, you tell me the story about howyou got that first pitch lab book. I would love if you would recountthat for the audience because it's an excellent example of you've got an ideaand sometimes just voicing it to the right people all of a sudden kicks ina bunch of momentum. Absolutely, absolutely, yeah, and even back to SethGod, and not that fuck it ship. It like yeah, let'sroll with it. So so, yeah, I was kicking around the idea sayinghey, you know, what would you think about salespeople making pitches andinstead of you know, Shark tank where people were criticizing the content of thepitch. It was more stand up Comedians, Improv coaches, storytellers, giving feedbackon on the techniques, on the public speaking and and things like thatin the presentation and performance. So I was at lunch with my friend RJ O and who you know as well, and talking about the idea and hesaid, you know what, that's a fantastic idea. I think myfriend of Gal of an eyes would really like to do that. So Isaid, okay, cool, you know, thinking, Hey, he likes theidea, let's see where it goes. By the time lunch was over,I drove home, he had already...

...emailed galvanize Galvin. I said itsounds like a fantastic idea and we had our pilots set for the end oflast August, just like that, and I was like, Oh God,okay, I guess we gotta, we got we got to get this thingtogether. It's real. That's right right, setting that, setting that but andagain, a lot of the motivational guys out there talk about putting yourselfinto a situation, setting that deadline where you're ready or not, and thenscrambling towards that. Getting what seventy eighty percent on test learn iterate for there. So I definitely owe rj a lot in getting the ball rolling and thatthat ignition of pitch lab. And so when was that first one? When, just from a timeline, standpoo August thirty one of last year. SoAugust, September, uptob yeah, so we're about fourteen months old now.Okay, and how's it been going? Any surprises? Um, yeah,I would say so. When I started out I thought it was going tobe all about salespeople, right and and only sales people would be through thedoor. And what I've learned is a lot of people want these presentation skillsoutside of sales and it's really turned into more of a client facing opportunity,whether you're a sales engineer, are and evangelist and account manager, a projectmanager, a tech guy that has to do sprint demos, or even executivesthat want to, you know, brush up on on how to be moreengaging in front of teams. So so the fact that so many people haveembraced and has been fantastic actually on that, let me let me ask you.According to studies, the number one fear of the average American is publicspeaking. That's an actual statistic. The number one fear is public speaking.Do you know what number two is? Death? Actually, it's trump's nexttweet. No, it's you're right, your rights death. So number oneis public speaking. Number two his death.

And Jerry Seinfeld's got an awesome jokeand he says so, if you're the average American and you go toa funeral, you'd rather be in the casket than give the eulogy. Right. So, so it really I and I'm not saying that we're solving we'resolving the fear of public speaking, but I think that's what drives a lotof people is, you know, you get to a certain point in yourcareer and you have to talk in front of people, whether it's four orfive coworkers or you know, you're in a sales pitch and the entire executiveteams shows up and you're in front of ten or twelve people. That createsa bit of anxiety. And then the other stat that that I've learned alongthe way as in some cases your nonverbal communication can make up to even ninetythree percent of what you're communicating. Right, so your voice, your body languageis up to ninety three percent of what you're totally communicating. And andby example of that is, have you ever gotten in a in a fightwith your wife over text message because she couldn't understand? That's or somebody apologizesto you and they don't really mean it, because you could tell by their bodylanguage and their voice. It's those type of things. And then theother thing is, I mean you and your personal life. How many timeshave you bailed on buying a product or a service? Or maybe think backto the last car you bought because you didn't like the salesperson. Yeah,it's, yeah, right. or or how many times have you been snookeredinto buying something because you just like the guy or the Gal and you're justlike, you know what, I'm just going to go ahead and I'm goingto so it's fires remorse kicks in. You got it, you got it. But I really believe, I mean in some cases, if you're sellinga super cool product and you're able to you know you got your right brandmessage, you got your right positioning, you're differentiated. Fantastic, you knowyou don't need to worry about this. But even back when you and Iworked in professional services, I truly believe the client facing team becomes the differentiator, you know, in in professional services,...

...especial correct. I mean they're buyingthe people and the expertise in the way they interact and connect with them. They're not necessarily buying the service. I mean Shit, other people didthe same thing we did, but it was the teams that you put fromin the way that they interact and connected, it made all the difference. Yougot it, you got it. So that was the that was theimpetus. Sair, I hope I direct both directly and indirectly, answered thatquestion those it was perfect. It's funny that you talked about public speaking andI was literally driving on my commute this morning listening to him. You andI were talking about him before we hit record anthony and a Reno's podcast inthe arena, and he was talking to the guy, McGill is his lastname, just released a book called psyched up and he was talking about howhe was researching the book. It seems like, from what they've been ableto uncover, that the stage fright actually came from the genesis of it wasonce the stage got lit and the audience was in the dark. Something happenedto increase that anxiety to the point where it became that number one fear.I mean, I'll be the first to admit I stayed in front of roomsall the time talking and I every time, every damn time I get you know, the butterflies kick in, like I'm thinking of myself, of allthe other places I'd rather be than standing in front of that room. Sothat fear is is quite compelling and so, you know, having something that helpspeople get over it, makes them feel more comfortable, I think it'sextremely powerful thing to bring to the market. That's awesome. Yeah, and samewith me. I mean I'm still doing pitch lab. We just didDenver Startup Week. It was a room of over two hundred. I knewthe content, I knew what I was doing and I was just I wasfreaked out, you know, actually like nervous. Do you know you?Because I mean I've seen you and you're every time. But it goes awayonce I start. So what they say, and we talked about this in thepitch lab workshop, but it's not about killing the butterflies, it's aboutgetting them to fly in formation. And so what that means is it's it'sfor real. Follow me here. It's not about calming down, it's aboutreframing that anxiety as excitement. So basically...

...what you're really trying to do isreframe it because because what science shows us is whether you're anxious or excited,your body, on a physical level, is reacting very close to the sameway. So if you repeat the mantra I am excited, I am excited, you're reframing those feelings and then using that as positive energy on the stageand then usually after the first minute or two, you get your first laugh, you get out there, you're doing a lot better. But I thinkit's a natural, basically a primitive instinct to feel that. It's just yourjob to reframe that and to say this is excitement, this isn'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 in you'reusing that energy, you know, to really bring a great energy to thestage. And so out of the pitch labs, as you guys have done, is there a team that was pitching or somebody that was pitching that you'veheard that you were is the most memorable for you. Oh, so,let's go back to dumber start up we because that's still fresh in my mind. On Wednesday night we did this. It was mostly a fun event.It was a little bit educational but a lot of fun, and we calledit the battle of the startups, entrepreneurs verse Comedians, and so what wedid is we had two of the best entrepreneurs in Denver go headtohead against twoof the funniest comedians in Denver and I gave them each a funny pitch topic. So the pitch topics were things like so they had to pretend like theywere entrepreneurs with this idea, and then I had a panel of Comedians andImprov coaches and storytellers that were actually judging. And so the ideas were like Ihad one guy do energy drinks for zoo animals. So so the problemwas zoos are boring and attendance or down. So he invented an organic, allnatural energy drink to hop up the animals to make us more exciting.We did we did meat water, which...

...was industrial farming is killing the environment. So why don't we? Why don't we find a new way to getprotein out of animals via ous Moses. So they're soaking cows to get proteinout of them and it's called a meat water anyway. So the answer questiondirectly Anthony Franco. I don't know if you know him, but old founderof Eui Effective Ui and he does MC squares. He did D cheese printersand I'm telling you, he destroyed I've never seen somebody. I mean hehad d motion graphics in his presentation. You had cad models, he broughta he brought a prototype, he put on a lab coat, he hadthe emotion, he had the stuff. I mean he destroyed it and theentrepreneur is actually, yeah, they actually beat the Comedians in that. Butwhat I like about bringing those fake pitches and having people do that is whenyou g get the you know, you get that shark tank out of there. Well, I don't believe that that's the market. CAPP or, Idon't believe that's the right strategy. When you do a lighter, sillier pitch, you could focus on technique, right, you could focus on the delivery,the room command, the storytelling and then be able to bring those skillsinto into, you know, the true work that you do. So itwas it was fun, it was entertaining, but it was also, I think, real useful to be able to you know, we talked about rightbefore the show getting your own head out of it to be able to focuson and would you say, get the weed whacker out and raise your heada little bit more. So it's a real powerful tool to be able todo those funny pitches. And what's the feedback been from attendees that have,you know, come to the events? What and what are they hoping toget out of it when they get there? Yeah, so I would say mostpeople are are curious, right they number one, they want to pullback the curtain on the world of stand up comedy and Improv comedy and figureout what these folks are doing that's on stage that's so fantastic, that makesthem seem so effortless. And then the...

...other thing is they're looking for thatthat actionable, actionable takeaway to be able to bring to work the next day. So we 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 the fourth wall. Are you familiar with that term? Breakingthe fourth wall. Yes, yes, yeah, so, so. Thingslike, you know, never ignore interruptions if you're present in the room,if you see it, see it, you feel it. Your audience feelsthat. You 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 sales pitches I see so many sales guys sitting behind a laptop wheretheir laptop is up right and it's like a game of battleship and it's like, you know, I appreciate you might need to pitch with that laptop,but position it so that energy right. It's all this nonverbal communication. Theother thing is a lot of people come and they say I have problems withI talked too fast. People tell me I'm talking too fast or I dotoo many ums and os or hey, I want to tell more stories.What are the best practices for storytelling, you know? Or if it's abigger stage, they say how do I where do I stand? Do Ipaste? Do I not paste? Do I stand still? What do Ido? I mean, I think there's just really a need for these basictechniques to give people some tools so so they can have that and then beable to not think about it after they have the tools and then really focuson connecting and being authentic and, you know, work in the room andselling. But I think when you when you get on stage there, forlack of a better ru to get in that spotlight your brain, if you'reif you're processing too many things and running cycles on too many things, it'sreally taking away from from what that message is and moving the ball forward.And that, you know, in the...

...sales process, excellent. So arethere other people involved in pitch? Lamity partners, individuals you'd like the highlight? Yeah, we talked about R J RJ Owen, Christian Whitney. He'sa local guy here. He's our creative director. He's the guy that builtour brand and all our assets and he made us, you know, lookpro from day one. Tommy why is one of our stand up comedy coaches. David Soto helps us with digital marketing, and then we got a bunch ofpanelists, right folks, that that help gives actionable feedback. HITE McGuirehere in town, Joel lots is does our Improv Tim Schistler, who I'mdoing a workshop with. He's a major storyteller. And then a ton ofgreat comedians. Our next our next pitch lab next week starring Ben Kromberg,and I don't know if you know Ben, but he's been, yeah, commoncentral and last comic standing. So, you know, to be able tobring that level of fame into a workshop, I'm really happy about that. And then other local guys, Jad Lopez, Daniel reskin. All thesudden this is turning into an academy award. Hold on, let me get mypapers. I don't forget anybody, but yeah, I know it's not. It's a team effort. You know, it's absolutely a team effort to dothis and you know I can bring a lot of value, but theseguys are all bringing great perspectives to help give the feedback to the you know, the local professionals here. So I'm real grateful for those guys. ExcellentJay. If a listeners interest of finding out more about pitch lab or connectingwith you, what are the best ways to do that? Yeah, PitchLab DOT ioh, Pitch Lab Dot I. Oh, it's got our blog onthere, some past events, some of the great work we've done withlocal agencies, Americorps. We did an awesome Improv comedy workshop and then,if you want to contact me right through the sign up for the email,contact me through the website. It's all their pitch lab by. Oh,excellent. I can't think. You know a few times as day. It'sbeen great having you on the show. Thanks for having me, Chad.All right, everyone that does it for this episode. Please check us outof BB REV exaccom. Share the episode...

...with friends, families, Co workers. If you like. What you here do is favorite. Drop us areview on itunes. We do actually look at those to determine who to bringon so that you'll keep listening until next time. We have value prime solutions. With you all, nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening tothe BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode,subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you somuch for listening. Until next time,.

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