Question: I want to train myself to tell my company's story in 60 seconds or less. What tips do you have for doing so?
Question by: Darren M.
Don't Rush It!
"For something as important as creating a first impression with a business summary, you need to show a lot of confidence, and people can read your confidence in how you speak. By editing your story ruthlessly so it's down to 50 seconds each time—all the time—you give yourself 10 more seconds of free space in case you need to pause or tell the story slower. Your audience will be more receptive too."
Answer the "Why"
"The biggest mistake people make is describing what they do, but completely leaving out the "why." By incorporating the problem that you're solving into your 60-second pitch, you'll stand out and help communicate your message and value proposition much more strongly than most other entrepreneurs."
"I used to rehearse my pitches, blurbs and speeches for hours. I did slowly get better, but I didn't see a major leap in professionalism and content until I forced myself to deliver my message to a video camera. Repetition in front of a camera is the fast track to presenting. Then you just have to get out there and do it...again, again and again."
Problem, Cost, Solution
"Segment your overview using the outline of "Problem, Cost, Solution." What problem does your company solve? What does it cost your customers to use/buy? And what are you doing to differentiate you from others in the space?"
"Look around at other companies and how they break down their stories in a nutshell. See what you like or dislike about their pitch, then apply those tactics to your own story. It's amazing what you can learn from others that ultimately teaches you something about your own business—even if it's a simple pitch."
Meet New People
"Use every time you meet someone new as a chance to rehearse and refine your 60-second pitch. If you just do it in front of the mirror or your spouse, you're not going to stick with it. Get excited with every new interaction because it gives you a chance to further experiment with your messaging and immediately see what sticks. Adjust accordingly for the next person. Repeat."
Collect Real Feedback
"When you're training yourself to tell your company's story, pitch to a few people to get feedback. When other people hear your story, they will be able to offer feedback as to how much it convinces them to do business with you. You will learn what's working and what needs to be improved."
Stick to Six Words
"Can you start a conversation by telling them what you do in six words or less? For example, "We help people sell digital files." If they are interested, they will ask you a question about it. Try to get to know them, listen to their problems, and figure out how your product can solve their problems."
Know Your Audience
"When telling your company’s story, decide what you want the listener to glean from those 60 seconds. Write down your most essential points and the information related to each. Then, start practicing aloud while timing it. Each time you finish, decide what can be cut down, reworded or removed altogether. Whittle it down like a carpenter until you have a finely crafted, 60 second pitch."
Get Professional Coaching
"Even as a young entrepreneur, paying for this type of coaching is invaluable. Your entire business is based on this pitch, so even if you have to get creative and barter services with a coach, it will be worth it. Breaking your pitch down to the bare essentials that shows the value, has a great hook and resonates with the audience is not an easy task. Don't be afraid to ask for help!"
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.