Web Site: http://www.samhorn.com
Posts by :
- A copy of our financial projections
- A free product sample
- Details on how we plan to scale our organization in the next six months …
We live in an environment stuffed with information, we’re being stuffocated. We’re starved for epiphanies, stuff that really means something. What do you mean when you say “it’s time for us to disrupt some defaults we have that are compromising us, our communications and our mindset”?
ANSWER: By Sam Horn, America’s intrigue expert and the author of Tongue-Fu!, POP! STAND OUT IN ANY CROWD, and SERENDESTINY.
Sam: You’re right; we’re suffering from “infobesity.” We don’t need more information, we need epiphanies.
One of those defaults we need to change right now is we can’t say anything in 10 minutes. I’m the Official Pitch Coach for Springboard Enterprises which has coached women entrepreneurs to receive more than $4 billion in venture capital. I had a client with an evolutionary product and when she was told she has 10 minutes to get the favorable attention from investors, she said,
“You can’t say anything in 10 minutes.”
I said “you can change a life in 60 seconds.”
Here is the 60-second opening we came up with that landed her millions of dollars in funding.
THREE “DID YOU KNOWS” = $MILLIONS IN FUNDING
“Did you know 1.8 billion vaccinations are given around the world every year? Did you know half of those are given with reused needles? Did you know we are spreading and perpetuating the very diseases we’re trying to prevent? Imagine if there were a needle – a one use, painless needle, that was a fraction of the cost of the current model. You don’t have to imagine it, in fact we’ve created it.”
And she was off and running. She had their attention from the beginning and she won in 60 seconds. If you’re pitching and making a request, even to people who are skeptical and cynical, start with 3 “did you know” questions that they don’t know.
You scope the problem or scale of issue, then you bridge into the best case scenario with the word “imagine.”
THE POWER OF THREE
You’re using the power of 3 to paint a word picture of how this could be resolved or improved. Then you bridge into
“you don’t have to imagine it, we’ve created it.”
You go right into social proof or precedence and you just won buy-in in the first 60 seconds.
Question: How did you get her from “can’t to can?’
SAM: It’s based on something George Washington Carver said.
“When we can do a common thing in an uncommon way we will command the attention of the world.”
Do not be content to be common.
If you start out with perfunctory or predictable remarks you will lose attention in the first 60 seconds. How can you pleasantly surprise them by saying something they didn’t anticipate? It’s the only way you’re going to get their heads to pop up from their BlackBerry’s and get their undivided attention.
ASK – DON’T EXPLAIN
SAM: Ask instead of explaining. One of the best ways to set up two-way communication instead of a monologue is to ask questions instead of stating declarations.
Does that make sense?
( I hate it when she does that … asks me if sense makes sense.)
Ask the Expert
QUESTION: We have a new product we’re pitching to investors. But we’re bad pitchers. There is so much going on these days, social media, videos, text messaging – so much information – that can derail things. Can any of your experts give us some tips on how to capture and keep people’s attention from start to finish?
ANSWER: Yes. Start with a dog stranded on a burning oil tanker. By Sam Horn, author of POP: Stand Out in Any Crowd.
First things first. Wipe clean from your mind all other presentations. Start fresh. Now we’re going to turn your presentation pyramid upside down.
On a blank piece of paper, put 3 vertical lines so you have 4 columns. In the left column put 70, next 3 columns put 10. This is going to evolutionize the way you present. Put the word “example” by 70. In the next column put the word “aha.” Next column put “ask” and fourth column write “act.”
WE DON’T NEED INFORMATION – WE NEED EPIPHANIES
Most people spend most of their communication delivering information – boring.
We’re drowning in information, we don’t want more, we need epiphanies. We don’t get epiphanies through information, we get it through examples. So from now on, start with examples.
PULL OUT ALL THE AHA’S
Give real life situations with back and forth dialogue so we SEE what you’re saying. Next pull out an “aha” from the example so that the point you’re making is organic and original, not cliché.
HAS THIS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU?
Now the ask column needs 3 you questions so they can relate. “Has that ever happened to you?” “Have you ever been in a situation where you were challenged?” “Next time you go to your office could you..?”
Now the people in the audience are relating what they just heard to their experiences so the light’s going on and the band’s playing. Now we get into the final column, act, with two prescriptive how-to’s specific measureable actions. Notice the proportions? We’re spending most of their time on examples, what’s most interesting and fresh. Then we’re going into an aha, which they haven’t heard before because it’s taken from the example, and make sure to ask questions so they think how they can apply it to their life. Then we give 2 very specific next steps so that they’re motivated to do something differently. Not because they have to, they want to because it wasn’t presented in a one way model.
So when I was talk about 70-10-10-10, it’s all rhetoric because I’m talking about it. When I say, “for example,” you get interested because you know it’s going to get real.
THE EMPATHY TELESCOPE
A tanker caught fire 800 miles off the Hawaii coast. A cruise ship was going by and rescued the 11 crewmen. When the captain gave a press conference he said he how grateful he was to be rescued, all he could think about was his dog that had been left abandoned on the tanker.
The US pacific fleet actually changed their exercise area to search the part of the ocean where they thought the tanker was. They found the tanker, and when the press conference went viral, donations started pouring in, 500-500,000 donations. Once they found the tanker, they sent a c130 to see if there was any sign of life. There’s a brown and white blur racing up and down the tanker.
The coastguard mounted a quarter of a million dollar rescue mission to rescue the dog and they brought him back to Hawaii.
Now if you’re thinking “what does that have to do with communication?”; Why did people from around the world mobilize to save one dog when there are thousands of people in their state and city without food, water and shelter? It’s because of something called “the empathy telescope.” We can put ourselves in the shoes of one person, we cannot put ourselves in the shoes of many. If we are talking about the millions of dollars we made, the thousands of people we serve, the hundreds of people who would benefit from this product, the mind shuts down because it can’t keep up with those numbers.
START WITH THE DOG & TANKER STORY
If you want to capture and keep their attention, start with the dog and the tanker story, or the story of one client who has benefited from using your product.
If you tell a vivid story of that individual, the audience buys into what you’re saying instead of just talking about it.
QUESTION: I have to give a presentation to an Investors Board with thirty other companies that are also seeking funding. I’m afraid we’re going to get lost in the noise. I’m comfortable with everything but the wrap-up. We have a strong opening but need to end it with a bang. Right now it ends with a powerful yawn. Any tips from your experts on how to end a pitch without boring them to tears?
ANSWER: By Sam Horn, author, business strategist and Official Pitch Coach for Springboard Enterprises, which coaches entrepreneurs to design and deliver winning pitches and proposals that close deals, land contracts and raise funds. Springboard Enterprises has awarded over $5 billion in funds.
So what you’re really asking is how to effectively END your pitch so that you’re the one they remember; you’re the one they want to talk to; you’re the one who gets funded?
HOW EVERYONE ELSE DOES IT
Let’s start with the way it’s typically done.
PASSIVE, VAGUE WIMPERY
Do you know how most entrepreneurs close their pitch? With a vague “thank you for your time,” a passive “please let me know if you have any questions” or a wimpy “I hope you’ll consider investing in our company.”
HOW TO STAND OUT IN THE END
I’ll use a personal example from a client of mine who was struggling with the same conundrum.
First, to stand out and create a competitive edge, you have to end with a very specific, strategic, actionable close.
This client had been an executive for an organization that catered to teens and Millennials. She had a lot of confidence and projected a youthful vibe with her white, spiky hair and hip, fashionable clothes.
We suggested she wrap up with,
“I’m Marcia—the one with the white, spiky hair. At our next break at 10:30, you’ll find me over there in the far corner of the lobby. If you’d like
… you’re welcome to meet me at our booth at that next break. Once again, I’m Marcia with the white, spiky hair. I look forward to meeting you.”
Guess who was surrounded by investors at the next break?
You’re right, Marcia. Because she had a clear “ask and action” that she gave everyone in the room—three options that might appeal to them and that let them know exactly where and how they could follow up with her.
You have to capture their attention—not only at the beginning but also at the end. You’re there for one reason, right? You do want people to invest in you, right? Then ask for action.
If you’ve read Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, do you remember this passage?
“The horror of that moment, I shall never, never forget!” – the King.
“You will, though,” the Queen replies, “if you don’t make a memo of it.”
The Queen is right about why it’s important to jot the thought when it’s hot.
I’ll always be indebted to former National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones for teaching me why it’s every writer and speaker’s job to ink it when we think it.
Hall of Fame speaker, Dewitt (who lives part-time in Hawaii and can be found online at www.DewittJones.com) and I were enjoying a walk/talk along a Maui beach discussing the topic of intuition.
What is intuition? Where does it come from? Why are those intuitive nudges never wrong? How can we capitalize on them?
Dewitt was doing something that puzzled me. We’d go about 100 yards and Dewitt would stop, whip out a little notebook and pen from his pocket and write something down. We’d go another couple hundred yards and Dewitt would stop again and scribble something else down. He kept doing this until I finally asked, “Dewitt, what are you doing?”
He said, “Sam, I used to get ideas and think, ‘That’d be an interesting tidbit for my next column,’ or ‘I’ve got to include that in my keynote tomorrow,’ but then I’d get caught up in other things and forget all about it.
“I realized I make my living from my mind and I was throwing away these golden insights that were being gifted to me. I promised myself I’d start writing down ideas the moment they occurred to me so I wouldn’t lose them. Now, it’s become a habit.”
How many times have you gotten an intuitive flash—a whisper of an idea—and then gone about your day and forgotten it?
If there’s anything I’ve learned in 20 years of researching, writing and speaking about the fascinating topic of creativity, it’s that this is how our best thoughts occur. They POP! into our mind. And if we don’t write them down, they’re gone.
From now on, realize that if you want to make your living from your mind, you need to record those flashes of brilliance in a notebook you carry with you everywhere you go so you can explore their potential later.
Carry a digital recorder, call yourself on your cell phone and leave a message, DO SOMETHING to capture those ideas before they disappear.
Remember, they don’t call ‘em fleeting thoughts for nothing.
You may not know where this idea, thought seed or phrase fits into your work. Just trust that it will.
Our greatest minds, from Einstein to Mozart, have understood and honored the power of the “muse.” As Ralph Waldo Emerson said,
“Learn to watch that gleam of light which flashes across the mind from within.”
Bestselling authors know if they’re fortunate enough to be gifted with a revelation, it’s their responsibility to write it down. If they don’t, it’s gone, perhaps never to be recovered.
I call this,
“Muse it or lose it.”
When you take the time to record ideas as they occur to you, they will be there waiting for you, days, months, years later when you’re ready for them. You will have captured those gleams of insight and will be in a position to capitalize on them (and set up SerenDestiny in the process.)
As Saul Bellow said,
“I never had to change a word of what I got up in the middle of the night to write.”
From now on, INK it when you THINK it and MUSE it so you don’t LOSE it.