Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What's your 15 second story?

Everyone has heard of the "elevator pitch." You know, where you have 30 seconds to tell the CEO of a company or an investor why they should be interested in you and your business. It can be pretty intimidating. Thirty seconds just doesn't seem like a long enough time to get everything out. Your mind is in a whirlwind, your palms are sweaty, 10 seconds of the pitch is filled with stuttering and stammering. The elevator doors open and a chance at changing the world is lost. You remain on the elevator looking dumbfounded and sad because you can't even get your 15 second story out.

Even before you try your hand at the elevator pitch, you should know your 15 second story. The 15 second story is your "who, what, where, why" customized to fit your life. Who are you or who are you representing? What do you do? Where do you do business? Why do you need to known? Can you successfully let someone know everything they need to know about you in 15 seconds or less without sounding like Six from Blossom?

Here are some tips on how to turn your life's story into 15 seconds:
  • Start off writing everything you can think of about yourself or your business. You should include everything from date of creation, how it was created, why it was created, what it is, who you are, where you're from, what your goals are, etc. Writing down all this information will help you get a clear head and even help you see your accomplishments and strengths.

  • Figure out what the most important information is. If you are a student looking to introduce yourself to a potential employer you happen to see at a coffee shop, you need to figure out what part of your life story is the most important and intriguing for them. Everyone's 15 second story will be different and every 15 second story will be different depending upon who you are trying to attract. The point is to ensure that you always have the most important information first and then customize it.

  • Cut the fat. I'm pretty sure your list was pretty extensive, especially if you wanted to ensure that you got all the information on there that you felt was important. Now it's time for you to condense that list and make it even shorter. Cut the fat and then cut it again. Certainly your seven mentions in the media or your six achievements in academics are important but keep it down to one, if it fits.

  • Practice your 15 second story on everyone: your parents, siblings, friends, anytime you go out and opportunities where you can network. Practice makes perfect. You want to get so comfrotable with telling your 15 second story, that eventually it becomes second nature.

  • Get confident. You've identified who you are, what you want to accomplish, and what's most important about you. You've cut the fat and pinpointed your top list of things to talk about. You've successfully taken your 2 minute speech and turned it into a 15 second pitch. Now all you need is to get confident and watch the magic happen.

Knowing your 15 second story is a very important part of an elevator pitch. But before you can even make it to the elevator, you have to know who you are and what you represent. The 15 second story is very important in gaining interest and simply telling people about yourself. It serves as the cover letter to your life where your business card is like your resume. Perfecting your 15 second pitch will not only make you confident in your abilities, but it can be the difference between getting the job or client and not.

So....what's your 15 second story?

The Unemployed [but Empowered] Entrepreneur

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