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Cox Communications: How to Deliver a TED Talk-Worthy Startup Pitch to Investors

Tips on how to clearly communicate your message.

(Cox Communications is No. 18 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list)

You have a great new business idea and potential investors lined up. You have one opportunity to make a good first impression. Your presentation is everything. Do you have what it takes to deliver a compelling pitch?

If you want to become an influential speaker, you'll find your best role models on TED (the acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design). TED talks have become the gold standard for presenting ideas in a persuasive way that resonates with listeners. They are a phenomenon, and have succeeded in captivating millions of viewers and opening up new ways of thinking on a broad range of topics.

You may never aspire to give a talk on a TED stage, but with practice and preparation, you can raise your skills to a TED-style level that can persuade potential investors to act on your ideas. These pointers can help.

Engage your audience

An engaged audience is an interested audience. To capture your listeners' interest, clearly present your business idea within the first one to two minutes of your talk with a story that makes them care about what you have to say. Give an example of a need that people have and how your business idea will help fill that need. Use humor, a relatable example or a few bits of trivia — whatever approach feels natural and suits your personal style. This will help you establish a connection that keeps your audience engaged and listening.

Keep it brief

A distinguishing feature of all TED talks is their length at 18 minutes and no more. According to TED curator Chris Anderson, 18 minutes "is long enough to be serious and short enough to hold people's attention."

Attention spans are short, and people on the receiving end of a long presentation or too much data won't remember what you have say. They may even tune you out. So keep your pitch short and succinct. Distill your thoughts down to the essential points you want to communicate and eliminate unnecessary details. For example, your competitive analysis and long-term projections can be topics to discuss later, when the investor is onboard with your idea.

Take your audience on a journey

Present your business proposition in the form of a journey, with every point supporting your main idea in a relevant way. Share what inspires you about your idea and why. Identify the business problem it will solve and how, and how your customers' lives will be improved as a result. Back up your statements with a maximum of three to five pieces of strong evidence that also convey to investors your knowledge and experience within your market.

But avoid bombarding your listeners with data or overselling your idea with larger-than-life projections of future success. Instead, be conservative with your predictions and sculpt an interesting story based on key facts that make you and your pitch credible and convincing.

Use just a few slides

Slides should enhance your main message and not be the main feature of your presentation. Abandon slides packed with words and bullet points. Instead, use just a few images that resonate with your audience or capture complex visual concepts. Include infographics or simple charts and graphs to present statistics and financial information. After all, you want your audience to be listening to you, not studying your slides.

Show your passion

Passion is contagious. If you're passionate about your business idea, there's a good chance your audience will be, too, so allow your positive emotions to show through. You'll not only be a more effective presenter, but you'll also be more convincing to your investors.


It's not unheard of for TED presenters to practice their talks hundreds of times before facing a live audience. Practice internalizes your message so that you can share it with confidence and not sound over-rehearsed.

You may not need to practice your pitch for weeks in advance, but practice is essential to delivering your best. Rehearse your talk exactly as you'll be delivering it—seated or standing, out loud, and with the passion you want to convey and the movement you'll actually use.

Deliver your best

When the day comes to deliver your pitch, arrive at your destination early so you can set up your slides and ease comfortably into your presentation. You should have your script and stories memorized, but it's fine to use note cards if you think you might forget something. When delivering your pitch, maintain a conversational tone and make frequent eye contact with your listeners. Project your natural enthusiasm. If you've followed these principles for a TED-style talk, you'll improve your chances of ending with a handshake on a deal.

Cox Changes Logo, Tagline to Bring People Closer

"This will be a journey, but we want our products and employees to be advocates of real connections, not just connectivity."

Originally Published by Cox Communications.

Cox creates millions of moments of human connections every day and will focus more on what makes these connections so powerful and unique. To emphasize this shift, the company is launching new advertising, a new logo with a warmer look and feel, and a tagline of "bringing us closer."

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Cox Raises Commitment To Bridge Digital Divide With $20 Million Pledge

Cox's Connect2Compete customers report affordable internet access at home gets kids more interested in school work and makes parent involvement easier.

Originally Published by Cox Communications.

Cox Communications announced the overwhelmingly positive results of a survey of Connect2Compete program participants, a program designed for low-income families in need of internet access at home. The vast majority of parents agree low-cost internet service at home gives children a leg up for high school graduation (91 percent) and helps students get higher grades (89 percent). During a press conference in Washington D.C., Cox President Pat Esser also announced Cox is expanding its commitment to bridge the digital divide with a commitment of $20 million annually.

Connect2Compete Survey Results

The recent survey of more than 1,700 Connect2Compete participants revealed parents agree Connect2Compete:

  • Makes it easier to communicate with teachers and the school (95 percent)
  • Sets children up for success (94 percent)
  • Makes children more interested in school work (88 percent)
  • The convenience of having internet access at home is among the greatest benefits (97 percent)

According to the survey, most Connect2Compete customers are first-time internet users. Many first-time internet users lack the digital literacy skills necessary to make the most of their internet connection. To help bridge this gap, Cox Communications offers free digital literacy training and resources through the Cox Digital Academy. The digital literacy training is designed to empower low-income families to build educational, economic and social opportunities crucial to realize the full potential of a home internet connection.

Cox Expands Commitment to Bridge Digital Divide

Joined by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Founder of EveryoneOn, Zach Leverenz, Esser revealed the company surpassed a significant program milestone and is expanding its commitment to bridge the digital divide during the press event. To date, more than 400,000 people have been connected to the internet via the Connect2Compete program and the company continues to invest in the program. Esser announced the company is pledging an additional 20 million dollars to support this initiative over the next year.

"With convenient, reliable internet access at home, students can readily focus on their school work, explore their passions and ultimately reach their full potential in life," said Pat Esser, president of Cox Communications. "We will continue devoting important resources – including discounted internet service – to bolster their success and close the digital divide."

Cox has offered a low-income internet program for nearly two decades, and has a strong history of exceeding its goals for providing access to technology to students and their families – in the classroom, in the community and in homes. Through public-private partnerships and a dedicated focus across the entire Cox organization, the company continues to lead the way in closing the digital divide in the communities it serves. By connecting schools, community centers like Boys & Girls

During the back-to-school season, empowering students with the right tools is top of mind for parents and teachers. Survey respondents reported the sign-up process for Connect2Compete is a positive experience, and most participants experienced no issues when signing up via telephone at 855-222-3252 or online at Cox also regularly hosts or attends events where families can sign-up in person.

"My number one priority at the FCC is to bridge the digital divide—the gap between Americans who have access to the internet and advanced technologies and those who don't, "said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. "That's because the internet is increasingly critical in our daily lives. I've seen this for myself in my travels across the country and that's why the FCC has taken aggressive action to extend internet access. Every American deserves to have access to digital opportunity."

Cox: Retailers And Brands Measure Customer Engagement All Wrong

The problem isn't engagement itself, or even that marketing teams have sold their organizations on likes that didn't lead to sales – the problem is with how retailers and brands measure engagement.

Originally Published by Cox Communications.

By Nikki Baird

I came across a statistic a couple of weeks ago that intrigued me. According to a Journal of Marketing study, brands that invest in both social media and TV advertising sees a sales increase of 1% over a brand that invests in TV alone. And, the study notes, "A neutral or even negative social media post with high engagement will impact sales more than a positive post that draws no likes, comments, or shares. This is true even among customers who say their purchase decisions are not swayed by what they read on social media."

In other words, customers who are more engaged are more likely to spend. And engagement is so contagious, that consumers only have to see that others are getting engaged to actually be swayed, whether they realize it or not.

That says a lot about the power of engagement.

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Cox Business Acquires RapidScale

Strategic acquisition strengthens Cox Business' managed services and connected cloud offerings.

Originally Published by Cox Communications.

Cox Business, the commercial division of Cox Communications, announced its acquisition of RapidScale, a leading managed and hybrid managed cloud services provider that delivers secure and reliable cloud solutions to businesses of all sizes.

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Cox Communications Names Perley McBride as Chief Financial Officer

Perley Mc Bride has more than 20 years of experience in financial roles in the communications industry, including a decade at Frontier.

Originally Published by Cox Communications.

Cox Communications announced that Perley McBride will join the company as executive vice president and chief financial officer. Most recently, McBride was executive vice president and chief financial officer of Frontier Communications.

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YouTube Kids and NPR One Come to Cox Contour!

Cox continues to make it easy for customers to easily access everything in one place, adding YouTube Kids and NPR One alongside Netflix, YouTube, iHeartRadio, On Demand and live TV programming.

Originally Published by Cox Communications.

Cox Communications announced that YouTube Kids and NPR One are now available for Contour customers, providing seamless access to video and audio content choices right alongside TV programming, On Demand content, DVR recordings and more. Cox Contour customers can use their voice remote to launch and watch YouTube Kids videos and NPR One audio directly on their televisions, with no secondary device or need to switch inputs. These two apps are the latest additions to a series of apps accessible via the Contour platform, including Netflix, YouTube and iHeartRadio.

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Cox Launches New Spanish Language Content in Expanded Digital Academy

Free Resources Boost Digital Literacy Skills for Better Education, Jobs, Housing Opportunities and More.

Originally Published by Cox Communications.

At the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Convention, Cox Communications announced the expansion of the Cox Digital Academy to include free Spanish-language resources designed to broaden opportunities for the Hispanic population through technology. Cox Digital Academy, part of Cox's commitment to narrow the digital divide, offers valuable online resource for parents, students and educators seeking to improve their digital skills. Cox is also supporting the convention by educating families about the discounted home internet service available through its Connect2Compete program.

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