Archive for September, 2010


The Ten Second Pitch

It’s an impatient world. We are all distracted and overloaded. In today’s environment, your personal and professional positioning statement better be short and compelling. Forget the 30 second “elevator pitch.”  You’ve got ten seconds. That’s how much time you have to grab someone’s attention. Ten seconds to communicate what you or your company does. Ten seconds that communicates to the other person the one thing they’re thinking: “What’s in it for me?”  Whether you’ve just met someone at a networking event, or you’re applying for a job, or initiating a cold call, you’ve got ten seconds to make an impression. It’s brutal, I know.

Avoid Blathering

People make the mistake of thinking that their spiel has to say everything about themselves or their company. They spew out a long monologue during which the other person has already mentally checked out. Their eyes are already wandering around the room looking for someone else more interesting to talk to, or they’ve decided to end the call as soon as they can. Hear that tapping? They’re responding to their email while you’re yammering on. What you want is to stimulate curiosity. You want the other person to ask you questions; preferably, “How do you do that?”

The Focused Ten Second Pitch

Your ten seconds must be centered on the personal benefit. In media, we constantly ask why someone would care about a story.  How does it affect them or their family? What solutions are we going to offer? What new information will we impart?

Think of a one-sentence description that would elicit the response, “Tell me more.” If you’re a sales trainer, your one sentence could be, “I help companies double their sales.”  A business owner is definitely going to ask how you do that!  Then you tell them more. Here are some more examples. Note none of them include the name of the occupation in the sentence.  I’ve put the occupation next to the sentence.

“I tell stories that change lives.” (reporter)

“I give peace of mind to families.”          (insurance sales)

“I help people find happiness.”              (speaker and author)

“I make people laugh.”              (standup comedian)

“I help make buying a home easy.”        (mortgage broker)

“I help people with life changing events”  (therapist)

“I help people get what they want out of life.” (My own statement as a time management expert)

Work on it!

Work on your one sentence. It must feel authentic to you. It should feel good to say. Keep working on it until it feels good. This is much easier than memorizing a 30-second spiel. You’ll find that the extended conversation about what you do will now feel more natural too!

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Category : Goal setting and achievement | Blog

Every industry has its game changers. The moments when someone springs an entirely new product on the market that completely changes consumer expectations and the competitive landscape.  The digital world has brought numerous game changers that have impacted many industries.  Think downloadable music. Cell phones. CNN, then Fox News. The DVR. MySpace. YouTube. The iPhone.

The question is…are you paying attention to noticing the game changes in your business? Music companies didn’t understand the true threat of downloadable music at first, and when they did, they fruitlessly tried to battle it instead of embracing it and making it part of their business plan.  Newspapers kept their heads in the sand about the internet until they’d lost hundreds of millions of dollars in classified advertising to the web. Readers who wanted information on demand abandoned newspapers in droves, and young people never embraced newspapers at all. The newspaper industry is a shadow of what it once was. Television broadcasters allowed cable to grow on the strength of network and local programming that stations gave to the cable companies for free.

I remember when Apple first released the iPod that could play video. This was years before the ability to easily view video on the web. Before YouTube or  Facebook. I went to the Apple store with my husband and daughter to check it out. Traditional media people had been dismissing the product. The sniffed, “Who would want to watch video on a tiny little screen?”

I watched the demo in the store. I held it in my hands. It was light and sleek. The little screen had incredible quality. It was completely cool;  a breakthrough product.  I felt as though the ground shook beneath me. I looked up and announced, “This changes everything.”  And it did. Once people understood that they could have movies and video entertainment of their choosing when they wanted, it paved the way for the growth of online video.

The trick is to identify a game changer before it overtakes you. A game changer can be a small thing at first. It’s always the events that are occurring right now that pave the way ahead. This is true in your own career and personal life too. Are you listening and watching?

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Category : Goal setting and achievement | Blog