n the startup world, the word “pitching” is ubiquitous. Budding entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for that one connection that can fund their idea to a great business. They are therefore taught, or they learn how to “pitch” their idea to prospective investors. The truth though is that they will need more than one kind of connection for their idea to “scale”, another buzz word in the startup world. The interesting thing though is that we are all on a daily basis potentially making connections. Whether you like it or not, whether you are in the startup world or not, each day there is a platform of sorts that you are standing on “pitching” your ideas to the world. In so doing, you are looking for connections.
The question that you and I need to answer is this: How prepared are you to “pitch” your ideas or your life to the world in such a way that you get connected? In order to increase your chance for meaningful connections in life, preparation is absolutely important. Each day, and even as we speak right now, the world is auditioning. The world is always looking for connections. People are always being given an opportunity to connect. It might be at a random meeting in the streets or at a function. It might be on social media. It might be at a party. It might be wherever. The point is that on a daily basis, the world is always giving you and I an opportunity to “pitch”. The question is, are we taking the chance?
The the world of connections, I see one of the most repeated grave mistakes. I remember a story of how young budding entrepreneurs wanted an opportunity to meet the legendary Dr. Myles Munroe when he was in Kenya. It so happened that they were connected to Dr. Munroe’s host who organized a meeting. At that meeting, the young people kept rumbling and rumbling. In the end, when their time was up, they were ushered out. That connection was lost because they had nothing to offer to Myles, neither did they have the wisdom to draw something out of him. [ictt-tweet-inline]In the world of connections it is a cardinal sin to take up a platform even if it is for 10 seconds without rehearsing what impact you want to leave with your audience.[/ictt-tweet-inline] That is why preparation is the greatest nuclear power to connections of value in life.
It therefore follows that we ought to be introspective of what we are going to say to people. Two things must happen each time you are given a platform in life (which like I have said is a daily occurrence). First, people must know what you are passionate about. People seldom want to connect with those who lack passion. [ictt-tweet-inline]I have come to realize that it matters less what you are passionate about, just the fact that you are passionate about something earns you respect.[/ictt-tweet-inline] It might be that your passion is about insects. Believe me, it is much, much better than someone who has no passion at all. So when you are considering being connected, bring your passion to the table. [ictt-tweet-inline]Let the passion guide the connections. A passionate person is an attractive person. You want to get connected, get passionate.[/ictt-tweet-inline]
The second thing that you ought to tell people about yourself when you are given a platform has to do with your desires or plans. Of course this is dictated by how much time you have to make an impression. People love to get connected to those who know where they are going. If you stand up and are not clear about where you are going, no one wants to go with you. No one wants to connect with you. Where you are going is a function of your dreams, desires and vision. It is also a function of what you want out of this life. It is what made John F Kennedy get his man on the moon even when he was dead. Vision connects people stronger than anything I know. Listen to this:
“The crowd, the world and sometimes the grave step aside for one who knows where he is going, but shove the aimless drifter away”
~ Ancient Roman Saying
Like I have said all day, an elevator pitch is not something that is a reserve of entrepreneurs looking for funding. We all are looking for connections, and frankly, those connections are looking for us. What we say when we are given the opportunity is what will determine whether we get connected or not. Your purpose can easily come to fruition through a connection. In fact, I do not know of anyone’s purpose that can be fulfilled without any form of connection. Look at how Jesus Christ recruited his twelve. “I will make you fishers of men” he said to fishermen. That’s what you call an offer that can’t be refused. It is in the way you speak and with the words you use. The following pointers should help you.
Your audience is those who benefit from your value add. The mistake that many people make is to think that the whole world is your audience. Wrong. We need to painfully cull down the whole world until we get to a very specific small niche that is our audience. Those are the ones that will listen to you.
We have already talked about this. Your value add is basically your gift, talent, skill and passion that coincides with the problem that your targeted audience wants solved.
Use pen and paper. There is magic between your brain, pen and paper that I cannot begin to describe. I have several notebooks on my desk as I type away. I started there. The flow is in the paper.
Preparation is king. Go through over and over your pitch as often as you can until it is part and parcel of you. Time yourself if you must. It would be great if you had several versions. If you can have a 20 seconds version, a 30 seconds version and a one minute version all the way to a 3 minutes version, you will be doing great. Believe me, this is much more potent than your academic papers.
If there is anything that you need to work on over and over and over again, it is to make your “pitch” rememberable and memorable. There is no shortcut or formula to this other than hard work. People talk of “punchline” very much when they teach public speaking skills. The punchline doesn’t come automatically, unless you are a talented and seasoned speaker. Grind this.
All in all, if you want to get the best out of the connections that are available in the world, start by creating your elevator pitch. You will never regret it. You can take that to the bank.