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Jeff Cabili, Professor at Stanford Continuing Studies, teaches Ukrainian startups to pitch

For 3 days in the middle of May, the Sigma Software Labs team was a community partner at the event with Jeff Cabili, a professor at Stanford Continuing Studies, who came to Ukraine to educate Ukrainian startups. The beautiful and sunny city of Lviv welcomed the world-renowned specialist in non-verbal communication, storytelling, and pitching with all its charms. This is not the first time the professor has come to Ukraine; last year he also visited Kyiv, where he worked with startups for four days in a row.

This year, the professor visited Ukraine for the third time to help Ukrainian startup founders improve their communication skills with investors and clients. On the first day of his visit, he gave lectures in 3 educational institutions in Lviv, where he shared the secrets of public speaking and pitching. 

More than 150 students from Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, IT STEP University, and UCU Business School listened to a fascinating lecture on how to amplify your message with gestures, body language, and of course voice. How to walk on stage and how to speak so that you are heard and understood. 

Jeff Cabili at IT STEP University

Here are some of the points that Jeff Cabili discussed: 

  • Correct posture during a speech, gestures, and movements that influence the audience’s perception of the speaker 
  • Tone of voice, articulation, and word parasites that usually disturb the speaker 
  • Volume of material presentation, which places emphasis on the right moments of the speech
  • Social distance, which is correlated depending on the audience and adjusted during the speech and more…

During the second and third days at Sigma Software’s Lviv office, the professor helped startups improve their storytelling skills, structure pitch decks, and customize pitches for more effective communication. He gave more than 24 hours of inspiring lectures and talked to 20 startup super teams from Ukraine, Canada, and the United States, which we welcomed in our cozy office together with our partners.

“To improve your non-verbal communication significantly, two things are enough. First, you need to learn from a specialist, such as me. Second, you need to practice and be sure to review your speeches, analysing and improving them each time. You will notice many things you didn’t even know you had. Why is non-verbal communication so important for startups? Weak presentation skills reduce the chances of successfully raising investment, attracting potential customers, and motivating your team. The founder’s presentation should be convincing,” — says Jeff Cabili, professor at Stanford Continuing Studies.

The professor gave each startup focused attention, listening carefully to founders and reviewing their pitch decks. He provided personalized feedback to improve their public speaking and investor communication. Startups received tips on presenting their product, adjusting their slides, and using non-verbal communication. He also helped correct their speeches, stage presence, and presentation content. The event was unique, offering personalized advice from a top Stanford Continuing Studies professor to every startup eager to learn. 

Vladyslav Klymenko, founder of Bliss Brain

“Working with Jeff Сabili was extremely useful and inspiring, because it’s not every day you get to pitch your project to a professor at Stanford University!

I made a mental note to myself that I have to add value to what I show. If you say the same thing that is already in the presentation, why should the investor waste time? They can just read your pitch deck without you.

I realized that I needed to be more active with my hands and show what part of the slide I was talking about. This allows the audience to not let their eyes wander over the text and focus more on the speaker,” —  says Vladyslav Klymenko, founder of one of the invited startups, Bliss Brain.

The organizers of the Power Pitch: Compelling Storytelling for Startups alongside us were Sigma Software University and the Ukrainian Startup Fund