Who Are You?
“Who are you? Who, who? Who, who? I really want to know.” The Who
What a great question. Not “so what do you do,” which these days is such a multi-faceted question that it becomes largely superfluous. But who are you? Now there’s an opportunity to tell a story.
Last week I had a meeting with a new mentor of mine who has been a major executive in a number of businesses but is now focusing on the next wave of new media advertising. I only had a few minutes to tell my story so he could understand the questions I had. After two to three minutes he not only understood what we are trying to accomplish with Rare Air Studios and Learn To Be A Filmmaker, he immediately started to offer ways that he could help.
I have practiced this “pitch” so many times that I can roll it off in varying lengths from :15 seconds to two minutes or so. After that, you tend to lose the listener. That’s why in my last post, “What’s Your Story,” I mentioned those specific timings.
You may wonder why I have a :15 second version. Well, I’m glad you asked.
Another mentor of mine who is also a major venture capitalist and an angel investor teaches entrepreneurship at a state university in Georgia. (I don’t want to say which one because I am about to reveal his final exam.)
For the professor’s final exam in the entrepreneurship class he makes the student give him their company’s elevator pitch. The goal is for the teacher to be interested enough in the time it takes to get from the third floor of the building to the first that he wants a business card from the student based on his interest in the students business. He has timed the elevator and it takes less than 15 seconds to get to the first floor.
I have experienced this same type of interaction on an elevator. Recently working with my studio and partnering with Devil Cat’s Don Weir we had an assignment to film and interview some major business people in Atlanta. I was carrying my camera to go home after the shoot and a gentleman on the elevator asked why I was there. I told him and he said, “great I need some filming done for my company.” You guessed it – he took my card and became a client for Rare Air Studios and Devil Cat.
One of the problems in telling your story is what to leave in and what to leave out. Fifteen seconds isn’t a lot of time. That’s why I recommend you start with the two-minute version and then slowly distill the essence of what it is you are trying to communicate. You may want to practice on some friends first because this is hard.
I also recommend writing out your script and editing it by reading it aloud. You’ll find that we communicate differently when we talk than when we write. This is also good practice for any communication – an email or blog post for example.
Why practice? Why not just ‘wing it’? Because you’ll miss something. Professional actors practice their lines thousands of times. I read in the book Talk Like Ted that some of the speakers practice their 18-minute presentations up to 200 hours. When the lights are on, or we are speaking to someone important, we won’t get nervous if we have rehearsed our script.
You may need some ideas to come up with the essence of your story. It’s been said there is nothing scarier than a plain blank page staring back at you. I recommend my colleague Dr. Larry Stultz’s writing and lectures on creativity and ideation. Check out some of his posts here: tailwindsofchange.com.
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”
Seth Godin – Author, marketer and public speaker
So I’ll ask again. What’s Your Story? Who Are You? I really want to know.
Thanks for reading, #drrob