I only spent two days with the Bizworld participants so there wasn't a lot of time for one-on-one chats but I was at the camp all day, every day for a full week. That made it possible to talk during meals and breaks and really hear what the participants were worried about or unsure of. The number one issue was attitudes when approaching the oral pitches. Most people (myself included when I was a terrible presenter in university) focus inward and think about what they will mess up instead of focusing on the audience and what the listeners want and need to see and hear. My last post goes into more detail about this.
So, attitude is the first roadblock preventing speakers from being successful. Now it comes down to common mistakes and stopping yourself from making them. They include using words like "cheap" and too many conditional and qualifying words, standing in the projector light and blocking your content, leaving slide numbers off the slides, not having contact info on the last slide, not maintaining enthusiasm from one speaker to the next, not introducing the next speaker properly, not understanding how to manage your time, not persuading your audience due to a lack of eye contact or distracting/weak body language, filling pauses with noise, not figuring out how to use all the tech before you present, and not checking that stylistic elements are consistent across your slide deck. Remember, the objective of a pitch is not only to get the investor to believe that your idea is unique and viable but that you are the right person or team to successfully achieve it.
Between Bizworld, working at the census conference in Vietnam, and co-coordinating the startup camp, I see that even though public speaking skills are not being offered (or maybe "not required" is more accurate) at many schools and companies, there is a strong demand from the people who need them to succeed. I hope there will be more opportunities in the future for me to help people achieve their goals by training them to speak in front of a group of people where the stakes are high and the environment is very competitive. Those are the people I find value communications skills training the most and are the most appreciate afterward. As I tweeted last week, "I think I love teaching presentation skills because one little suggestion can lead to a huge improvement."