Explanation is a fundamental skill that we use everyday. As business owners, we exercise this skill in the Elevator Pitch. We know that your pitch is the difference between an average uninterested stranger and a potential future customer. We understand ourselves so well, we know our processes, our journeys and our deep dark stories. Translating these ideas into a pitch is not easy, but don't believe that you can't master the art of explanation. It takes practice.
Here are only 3 easy tips to help you master it.
1. SIMPLICITY is the ultimate sophistication.
This is the most important of the three. We struggle with something I call tunnel vision. It's when you've been so focused on the details of your product, you forget to look at it in its entirety. We have a difficult time imagining what it is like to not know it, and we make assumptions about what people should know about it.
We also rely on technical jargon. Jargon is completely unnecessary.
Sacrifice as much of the details to allow room for the entire vision to become clear FIRST. Always remember that once the viewer is intrigued, you will have all the time in the world to get into the finer details.
We all know the movie Alien. Take a guess about how they pitched the idea. It was pitched as "Jaws in Space." We think that making something more complex, more "out there" that it would suddenly be that much more interesting. Complexity is your enemy, it's easy to make something more complex. We do not want complexity, we are all seeking for the simplest form of things.
Albert Einstein says "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
2. Content is not King. CONTEXT is King.
We seek to understand things from our own perspectives,biases and experiences. This means your job is to connect your product to something people already understand. The key word here is connect. Use connections. The biggest question to answer is always WHY. Why should I spend this precious moment listening to your explanation? The true art of explaining requires you not to explain what your offering, its to explain why what your offering matters.
Kenneth Noland says "Context is the key - from that comes the understanding of everything."
3. Tell a STORY.
The best Stories involve a journey that takes someone from a specific conflict and travels through how the conflict was resolved. Think of your explanations in this way. Storytelling makes explanations compelling. Think about a specific person, put the person into a situation that's a problem for them, explain exactly how your idea is going to help solve this persons problem. To further strengthen how your product will strengthen this persons problem, provide no more than three key major features that will be beneficial to the person.
Robert McAfee Brown says "Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today."
My last few pieces of advice to you all is to practice, practice, practice. This means to get your ass out of the office, meet people and talk. Take some time to write down your pitch so that you can visually think it through and polish it. I often like to look at myself in the mirror as I practice my pitch.