Updated: Apr 27
Or do you verbally meander from thought to thought with words and phrases that seem connected in your head? Your listener sits bewildered - wondering what was said.
It's Not Really About 10 Seconds...
You can't really tell the whole story in 10 seconds but you can inspire or excite people enough to want to know more. The statement made in a 100 meter dash - the first 10 seconds can open the door.
It's OK if they ask, "What does that mean?" or "How does that work?" Because you are waking them up to discovery - to possibility.
The 10-Second Story isn't the Same for Everyone
I asked my wife if she wanted to watch a movie. She said "It depends on what it's about."
"It's about a guy whose mom died from cancer when he was a boy. He has a hard time accepting it and the story follows his journey of growth."
I pushed play 5 seconds into the movie... The opening scene of the film is very emotional - The boy sits alone in a hospital hallway. His grandfather ushers him into a room where his mother is slowly succumbing to her illness as the family stands around. Her words are moving - tears roll down the boy’s face and he looks away. She tries to take his hand but he refuses - she passes, her hand empty. Realizing she has died he cries out in anguish and is carried from the room. He runs out into the night and collapses to the ground. Suddenly a bright light shines on him from above. Hovering over him is a spaceship; he screams, "Mom!" as he is sucked up inside.
"What is this?! Is this a space movie?" My wife said somewhat exasperated since sci-fi is generally not her thing.
I pushed pause. "It's called Guardians of the Galaxy - It's a Marvel movie - but we can watch something else." I said, laughing.
She decided to watch it.
Chances are, had I said, It's a sci-fi adventure movie or a movie set in space about an arrogant self-centered doofus, a sentient but angry raccoon, and a tree that can talk but only says 3 words, she probably would have said an emphatic No.
She said Yes because my 10 second pitch was designed for her. She said Yes because the first 3 min and 20 seconds of the movie lay an emotionally compelling foundation for the rest of the film.
Creating the perfect 10 second pitch(s) for your target audience (or audiences) can be challenging because you have to know both your market as well as your message. You have to know how your 10 second pitch will lead to a 30 second pitch which will lead to a 90 second pitch which will lead to a 3 minute pitch which will eventually lead to a sale or a rewarding Capital Campaign.
It's worth it though. If you can do it yourself or you have the right team that can help you make it happen, developing the right story is critical to the success of any business or organization.