VentureUp19: Week 4 – It’s on! (like Donkey Kong…)

Crunch time at #VentureUp19 WGTN!

Learning to pitch with confidence!

So we’ve gone from problems to solutions, through product iteration after product iteration, to sales… and our teams had the chance to show even more people what they’ve been working on at the #VentureUp19 WGTN Showcase!

Before we get to pitching on stage though, we had a well-timed visit in store for the #VentureUp19 cohort; DK, license-holder of TEDx Wellington and speaker coach, provided his insights to owning your voice and all things stagecraft.

FEAR is the biggest problem you can have. The physiological effects of fear (on your body) are; the shakes, sweats, butterflies, needing to pee…

These are the SAME physiological effects as EXCITEMENT. If you can retrain your thinking so that instead of fear you feel excited, thing like public speaking can get easier.

“…when there are lots of eyes on you, your lizard brain is telling you ‘Run! You’re food!’

DK, Speaker coach and TEDx Wellington license-holder


DK’s top tips followed three themes; grace, authority and resonance.


How you stand and where you look can affect the way people connect with you…
Look at people to connect with them, emotionally, and because then you can model behaviour:

  • If you want people to agree with you, you can nod as you speak and people will nod along with you… you’ve modelled the behaviour
    *If you find it makes you more nervous to look at people… look at their noses or their forehead – it still looks like you’re looking at them!
  • What do you do with your hands?
    • One of the simplest is the Policeman’ stance, looks respectful, people can’t see if you’re nervous or shaking
    • If you’re going to put your hands in your pockets… keep it to just one hand, it’s casual but not too casual
    • Personally, I wouldn’t advise having personal props, as you’ll just end up fiddling with it


Owning your voice, and your content gives you credibility with the audience. So tips for remembering speeches; Keep it simple…

  • Give an overview – tell them about what you’re going to tell them about
  • Then tell them about it!


This is the emotional engagement you’re aiming for – it’s easiest in the extremes (i.e. shock, awe, fear or joy and delight). What do you want them to feel?
The way you speak, the intonation you use, these all add to your personal resonance with an audience… Key tips:

  • Breathing!
    Remember it!
    If you usually speak fast, concentrate on your breathing as it’ll help you slow down.
  • Volume…
    When you’re mic’d up this is less of an issue… but the key is speaking clearly.
    And remember – you can use volume to your advantage:
      • Speaking quietly can draw people in, like you’re telling them a secret
      • You can display your excitement with volume

And finally, our cohort asked DK… what is the most and the least favourite talk you’ve given?

  • The least is easy… it was a total fail!
    The people who hired me curated the talk so I didn’t fully know my material… I wasn’t in control, and it meant I had no authority over my voice
  • The most… was when I danced on stage in front of 200+ people I’d never met before…
    I was making a point – the entire talk, which was the closing keynote talk at the Sandbox Summit 2015, at MIT, was all about fear – and the lack of fear and inhibitions kids have (the example I gave was a kid who was dancing on the street in front of a busker).
    It was the closing keynote! I had to go for it and go out on a high! So to make my point that adults can overcome fear, I made myself really vulnerable and invited everyone there to dance with me – by starting first!

DK Owning your voice

Other highlights… well, we can’t ignore Showcase of course!
Check out our full Showcase blog to hear all about it.

Catch you soon!

If this is the first time you’re hearing from #VentureUp19…Welcome aboard, and where’ve you been?! Check out our previous post here – and stay up-to-date on all the goings-on via our mailing list and follow us on social (Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram) for daily content!

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