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Two Simple Methods for Communicating your Big Idea

Summary: A discussion on two alternatives for capturing your "elevator pitch" and get folks to quickly understand where you are going - and actively support you in the process!

Distilling your big idea into a terse but impactful statement can be a subtly difficult task – best not to overthink the words and overcomplicate the meaning. There are alternative ways to capture your “elevator pitch” and get folks to quickly understand where you are going (and actively support you in the process); here is some background on my [current] favorite styles for these Strategic Statements … which both follow a simple, three-word pattern.

Objective, Scope, Advantage

Source: Collis & Rukstad, HBR, April 2008 (link to summary; full article available for a fee)

Lay out your strategy with these three simple components:

  • Objective: What is the overall end point you are trying to get to? You must have a clear picture of what “done” looks like
  • Scope: What are the boundaries, the scope of what you are trying to achieve? Don’t fall into the trap of trying to “boil the ocean” – a specific focus is key.
  • Advantage: Simply put – how will you win? What critical differentiating advantage, what important and/or new method, are you bringing that will deliver the results?

An important feature of this method: the authors suggest you streamline it down to 35 words or less. This will keep your “pitch” from getting too wordy, losing focus(and the attention of your audience).

Why, How, What

Source: Sinek, TedxPugetSound, 2009 (link to YouTube video)

Where do you start when you want to really engage your participants? Sinek lays out a great process and example in this YouTube video; again, three simple components lay out your idea in a very persuasive way …

  • Why: The core belief of your business / project / effort / service offering. It’s why you exist
  • How: This is how your team fulfills that core belief
  • What: This is what your team does to fulfill that core belief

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At their hearts, these are two slightly different takes – but both methods are highly effective in the right context (and you, as the presenter, can do a lot to frame that context to make each approach more successful.

Which of these two methods can help you get your point across?

# 30 November, 2015

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James MacLennan

... is the Managing Partner at Maker Turtle LLC, a digital consultancy focused on creating value in ways that align with your strategy and drive engagement with employees, customers, and stakeholders. He is an active creator, providing thought leadership through on-line & print publications, and public speaking / keynotes.