[On] Point to Ponder: Insights from Loveland Startup Week

Last week, I presented “The Entrepreneurial Artist’s Business Model Canvas” with Harrison Hand and Ariana Friedlander at Loveland Startup Week. We had a great turnout – the room was packed at over 50 attendees, many of whom lingered long past our 90 minute time limit to continue side conversations. To what can we attribute the event’s success, and what can we glean for future talks?

  1. Preparation is Paramount.

Harrison Hand did a fantastic job setting up the event and thinking through its purpose and objectives. An artist and author himself, he is steeped in the local artist community. He specifically designed this event so that it would help other local artists. He wants them to have the tools he now has but wished he had earlier. He was simultaneously giving back and paying it forward.

Preparing with my fellow speakers beforehand.

2. Content (and Collaboration) is Key.

With three total speakers and a 90 minute time limit, we gathered before the talk to sketch out our larger “story” – identifying where would each add value, provide growth to the message. We formed a path we hoped would build a strong story for the audience. We told stories that resonated. We kept the slide deck minimal and simple. We brought handouts. We tried to sit in the minds of our audience and feel their problems, understand their barriers to success and foretell questions they might ask.

Introducing artists to Effectuation.
Ariana teaches the Business Model Canvas.
Harrison Hand’s “Skylar Tortuga.”

3. We fed them.

It sounds trite, but we fed them. We supplied both food and intellectual content. Audiences come hungry, in both senses of the word. When they walk away feeling satisfied, they are compelled to apply what they learned, network with those they met, and pay it forward as they grow their businesses.

For me, it was a pleasure to collaborate with other professionals in our area and put together a “crazy quilt” of material that would resonate. I look forward to future Startup Week events and those like it; these events don’t just “feed” the audience, they also feed the speakers and the community at-large. Until next year, Loveland!

Cindy Skalicky holds a master’s degree in Rhetorical Criticism and is the owner of On Point Communications, LLC. She coaches speakers – in person or virtually – on storytelling techniques, speech writing, presentation presence and overall content development. Master the Message with On Point. Contact Cindy today at: info@onpoint-communications.com 

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When you meet Cindy, you can’t help but feel engaged and pay attention. She clearly is an outstanding communications professional. The way she took the stage, conveyed her message and shared her approach to storytelling at the recent conference was mesmerizing.

Cindy made me rethink my approach to storytelling that I had used in my client work for many years. Cindy’s workshop alone made my trip to Denver worthwhile.

Ruth Winden, Executive Coach (UK)

You are a wonderful presenter Cindy! I have taken so much from your presentation at the conference. I noticed when you speak, you at times lowered your volume in a way where we still heard you, but it PULLED the audience in, as if you were confiding in us.

Your vocal variety was lovely, (as well as your content, of course!). The advice to gather your stories from your past and weave them into your presentations is spot on.

Julie Roberts, Linked In profile writer|Coach

“Cindy was truly instrumental in getting a compelling, professional pitch deck put together. Without her structure and guidance on how to tell a compelling story, I know we wouldn’t have had nearly the success and traction that we have. I look forward to continuing to work with Cindy and making our pitch evolve alongside our business.”

Jennifer Henderson| CEO at Career Allies

“Last year, I reached out to Cindy to help me with a sales deck I use frequently. I learned how to personalize my presentation in an authentic and informative way, making it more interesting to deliver and for my audience to observe!  Cindy was professional, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable and her suggestions were spot on.  If you want to enhance your communication skills, gain confidence in speaking, and improve overall delivery, I definitely recommend working with On Point!”

Nicole Steed, Global Account Manager | Helms Briscoe

“As a professional speaker, I know the value of getting feedback before giving an important speech. As I prepared my TEDx talk, Cindy was the perfect person to give me outside perspective. She did a beautiful job taking the many ideas I had floating around in my head and helping me select what to use, how to organize them, and how to tie it all together.

I love the way she coached, not trying to make her words my own, but instead, considering what I was trying to achieve and helping me stay true to my voice. If you have to stand and deliver a great talk, working with Cindy can help you ensure you’re at your best!”

Tanis Roeder, Elevate Your Communication