Interview with Máté Rab at Kazánház on 11/11/2014, following John's Elevator Pitch training with !gen Debrecen participants.
Hi Máté, nice to meet you. Since you had the chance to observe how the training went, now I would like you to give us an Elevator Pitch and introduce !gen Debrecen to our readers.
Hello everyone. In a nutshell, !gen Debrecen is a new project in Debrecen aiming to provide its participants with the unique opportunity of developing their entrepreneurial thinking skills by implementing their own ideas. In reality, this means that in just 3 months the participants can go from having an innovative idea to standing at the start line and taking it to the market. !gen Debrecen was created for those who need help from professionals to get started on their road to success.
Our applicants can be categorised into three distinct groups. The first ones are teams who are struggling with getting started. The second ones are those individuals who have the idea but lack the team to realize it. The third ones are those people who are interested in the world of start-ups and are open to innovative ideas but do not have their own at the moment, so they enrol to find a team to join. !gen Debrecen opened its doors to these people this September. Twice a year, people will have the opportunity to enrol. The idea to help creative people achieve their goals has already been implemented in Budapest where the whole course has been successfully completed four times by different participants. The course itself is now for the first time available to the people of Debrecen and Szeged.
To talk a bit about the present course, we have 5 groups who take part in a series of lectures for 12 weeks. Structurally speaking, each week they have an interactive lecture on a specific topic and the teams have the rest of the week to figure out how to make the best use of what they have learnt. At the end of the 12 week period, there is a competition where the winning team will receive a grand prize.
As you mentioned, you have several trainers with different areas of expertise. Why did you choose John to cover the Elevator Pitch segment?
The course can be divided into two distinct stages. During the first one, the teams are developing their business models, while in the second stage the main focus is on how to sell their ideas. The present course is at the latter stage now, which means that it is time for them to learn how to present what they have come up with. To this end, the participants will have several trainings; one of them is John's.
Why did we choose John? For many reasons. First of all, we have known John for a long time now and trust him as a professional. Secondly, it's not just that we have a good relationship with him but also the fact that the business world acknowledges what he and his company have to offer. Thirdly, John as a business owner himself has gone through the process of personal development and growth and we at !gen Debrecen aim to help our participants achieve the same on their journeys. And last but not least, his training is extremely practical. It is essential to see that these people who are forming these teams today are working towards the goal of entering the market. Therefore, they need more than theory to survive in the real world. We consider John to be a very skilled trainer since he constantly makes an effort to engage the participants by means of various tasks. This way the participants can test the information they just received and see what happens as a result. In other words, after John's training everyone leaves with the complete package of how they need to do things.
Let's turn to the training itself then. How did you like John's training?
Well, John's interactive lecture was absolutely amazing and to be honest, this is exactly what we expected. Each and every team was active and eager to do the tasks to their best abilities. Taking into consideration that the teams were preparing how to sell their ideas in the first stage of the course, it was now that they really had the chance to take their ideas to the next level and perfect their methods. It was quite interesting to see the difference between the opening and the closing presentations of all the teams. What I find the most fascinating about this difference is that the participants went through the whole process in 2 hours and as a result their message changed in so many ways. For instance, they became much more specific, their messages were value-centred and fine-tuned to their target markets.
Did you, from the outside, i.e. not as an active participant, hear anything that you can use later on?
In my opinion, this is a topic that you can never learn or talk enough about because a huge part of personal development is how you express yourself and how you communicate your message. For me, the mind mapping part of the lecture was intriguing. You have to sit down and take the time to think about what you want in your pitch and then narrow your focus down in order to form a powerful message. I think another important message was that even the best communicators need to take some time to reflect on themselves and see what type of mistakes they make. And in relation to that, what I liked the most about the training was actually the last segment in which John recorded the pitches. This way, the chosen team members had the chance to experience what it's like to deliver an elevator pitch under pressure, in front of a camera. It's also a great opportunity for the participants to review their own performances. All in all, this is a topic that never loses its relevance and needs constant revision.