How ABA Helped My Business Pitch

Clicker training.

Yup, clicker training. The method we use to train dogs to roll over is the same method Annie used to train up my business pitch.

Tuesday, February 19, CoFounder Andrea gave a 5-minute pitch about BehaviorMe technology and business to an audience of judges and attendees, competing against a list of 7 finalists in areas ranging from craft boxes to water purification. This was the final step in a 4-month long business competition for startups in the North Florida area, Start Up Challenge.

We were tasked with talking about ABA therapy for children with autism, using virtual reality, to a non-behavior analytic, non-tech savvy, audience. For the chance to win $10, 000.

In the days leading up to the pitch, the team worked together to create and clean the script. We swapped out unnecessary technical language for terms that are easier to swallow. Replaced the unemotional and objective with words that tugged at the heart strings. We wanted people to connect to our message, so we needed to create a story that was relatable.

The key questions here were: What do we want the listener to go home with? What is the core message of our talk?

There is a story we are telling and if least-to-most prompting is not central to that story, it doesn’t need to go in the pitch.

Clicker training came into play when I was learning the delivery itself. We used the script, the slide deck, a water bottle as a mic, my mouse as the presentation, a clicky pen as the clicker, and Annie’s “good!” praise statements. Also snacks, it was going to be a long night.

The interplay of the language, the tone, the cadence, and the body language had to come together perfectly to result in a “click” by Annie. And did I work hard for it!

We started at the beginning and worked slide by slide, adding each new slide to the long chain of slides already learned.

After three hours, I got it! Smoothly performing the pitch, I was ready to take on the next day.

A little under a year ago, we used this same method to help Andy prepare for the Boomtown Demo Day, the pinnacle of our 12 weeks in a 5 minute pitch delivered to an audience of community members and potential investors.

Although we did not win the final prize, we did learn some things along the way.

Clicker training isn’t just for dogs, it’s for founders and pitches, too.

Andrea Villegas

Posted by Andrea Villegas

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