GET READY FOR THE THREE-MINUTE DRILL
If I gave you three minutes to stand in front of a group of bankers or investors and talk about what you do so they could possibly give you a loan, how would you do? What would your presentation be like? Would they be able to understand what it is that you do, who you do it for, why you are the best person to do it and how you plan on growing using their money? All within three minutes?
With the New Year upon us, we tend to think about new goals and new ideas to jump-start our business. We want to try all sorts of things to really make this year stand out, but when the foundation of what you do can’t be explained in a compelling, efficient and effective way, what good is trying to do new things when the core components aren’t even on solid footing?
Before you get started on all the new ideas, take some time to go backwards and work on your “identity statement.” This statement should say exactly what you do in a compelling, efficient and effective way. You might be surprised at how hard this actually is. Many of you can say what it is that you do to yourself, but when you are in front of a group of people who don’t know you and you need to be efficient, it can get pretty tense.
One of the best ways to see this in action is to watch the popular business “reality” show, Shark Tank. Every week you see people going before the investors with the hopes of getting some money to help grow their company. And the first thing out of each of their mouths is their identity statement. And it better be a good one! How would you do if you had to go on Shark Tank right now and tell them about you? How compelling, efficient and effective would you be to a room full of strangers?
So for the New Year, work on a great identity statement that gets you excited and your potential customers excited to do business with you! Here are some pointers for what should be included in your pitch:
- Who you are, what your business’s name is
- The service you offer and your intended customers
- The “compelling need” that you address (this is a big one!)
- Why are you doing this
- What you want out of the venture
- How you plan on exiting from the business
- How the business operates and how it will make money
- The competitive advantages that you have
As you answer each one, make sure you keep in mind that you need to be efficient. You don’t want to ramble on and on about one particular point. Remember, you need to keep this to less than three minutes. It also won’t help keep the attention of the people you are talking to. Learn to get your point across quickly. If you keep each of the above topics to 2-3 sentences, staying under three minutes will be no sweat. This exercise in efficiency will be one of the toughest things you have to accomplish.
Being effective is another key area. Are your answers getting the point across to your listeners? You can talk all you want, but if the receiver doesn’t actually understand what you are saying, they will doze off and be completely uninterested. Use your words wisely and make sure to drive your message home.
And lastly, you need to be compelling. People need to see your enthusiasm, your passion and your love for what you do. You body language should shout out to them that you truly believe this opportunity is a great one and they would be foolish to not use your services or invest in you. You need to deliver your efficient and effective speech in a way that tells a story, so that your audience gets it, and wants to buy in. If being efficient and effective are the mature part of the statement, then compelling is the “cool” part. Hey DJ, this should be the part that comes easy to you! Just remember, there is a fine line between “cool” and “cocky.”
Once you have what you think is a good statement written down, memorize it. There should be no need for flash cards or reading from a paper. This is your business, you know it well. Speak from your heart. And once you have it memorized, you need to record yourself giving your presentation. This is the best way to see what you actually look like giving it. Use this as a way to tidy up the parts you don’t like and add to the parts you do like. And just like that, you have your identity statement.
From now on, this is what you say when you are in a professional situation and people ask more deeply about what it is that you do. And as much as I love having a statement like this to use in those situations, I love it more because of the work that has to go into creating this statement. A good statement is going to take a couple of weeks to create. It will take time to think about the answers to those questions. It won’t be easy, but it will be so worth it when you are done. You not only will be able to effectively, efficiently and compellingly tell people what you do, but you will also have new clarity for yourself about why you’re doing what you’re doing. And that knowledge is the most important thing you can have.
Here’s to a great 2014!
Filed Under: Business, Issue #154
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