It’s all about the ‘art of the pitch’. When you have an idea that you want to share, it’s important to understand that your ability to sell the idea, in the beginning, is potentially more valuable, than the idea itself.
I was at a networking mixer last week and connected with a ‘new’ entrepreneur who asked if he could share his idea with me. I humbly agreed and I began to listen to the new idea that was going to potentially change the world. He began to set the framework for his concept and it sounded very interesting. Unfortunately, as he continued, the pitch went off on numerous tangents and worse, went on for too long! At the end, I was left in complete disarray and really couldn’t recall the premise of his original idea. I decided the prudent thing to do at that point was not to provide him feedback on his idea (because I really couldn’t), but general feedback should he find himself in a similar situation. Here are the key takeaways:
1) It’s all about the art of the pitch: You have to be able to tell a story that will leave your listeners wanting more! Like a great story, focus on getting them on board, providing them the relevant points, and set the stage for a follow up.
2) When you have many great ideas (addressing the additional tangents), you have to remember that you cannot be all things to all people and therefore you should focus on doing one thing – really well. And, as a follow on, when you are ready to diversify, let your customers lead you.
3) And finally – realize, that in the beginning, it’s actually about you, the chemistry you two share, and your ability to deliver results! Ideas will go through much iteration, and in many cases, a complete overhaul. However, if the person delivering the idea doesn’t do well, they may not get a second chance (with that same person) to pitch again. Worse, they may not get a second chance to correct the damaged impression the listener is left with.
So, the next time when you are talking to someone about your idea, remember the these guidelines. Even if doesn’t go anywhere, you’ll feel better about your ability to pitch clearly and, more importantly, gain the confidence to be able to sell your idea in 60 seconds!