One of my favorite programs to watch each week is Once Upon a Time. It's an ABC family drama featuring characters taken right out of the Disney fairy tales. From the opening scene in Season One featuring a hopelessly romantic Prince Charming racing on horseback to rescue the lifeless Snow White to the most recent episode featuring the destruction of Hell itself, there is always a conflict, a resolution, and the beginnings of a conflict.
Once Upon a time not only has been a successful television show for the last 7 seasons, but it is continuously reinventing itself with new characters, new lands to explore, and new themes from which they build their story arcs around. Its message is simple. Whenever anything bad happens in the world … wherever trouble can be found … the good guys always find a way to win.
It's all about the mushrooms
In another world, a plumber and his brother are on what seems to be a never-ending quest to save a princess. A Princess who for some reason is constantly being captured by a large fire-breathing lizard and his evil turtles. No matter the cost or bodily harm, pasta-loving Mario Mario and Luigi Mario grab their plungers and race off to battle over land, sea, and air to make sure that Princess Peach is safe and their little buddy Toadstool is once again happy.
What can we learn from video games?
What do both of these stories have in common? First, they are both very popular stories featuring the same conflict/resolution concept. They each start out with an introduction that captures your imagination. The stories then set up an antagonist who is willing to go to the end of the world to create essentially … the end of the world. They then introduce the main characters and a quest to right the wrongs done by the villain. They both draw you into the story so you want to ask the question: “What happens next?”
In this third post in our “15 Second Series” showcasing how you can successfully pitch your next startup, or interview for your next job, we will be taking a look at the third step in our pitch. By this point, you hopefully have mastered the art of introducing yourself (Step 1) and you have set up the needs for your services by identifying the problem areas that you can come in and address with your services. (Step 2)
Turning the tables on your next 60 seconds
The topics in this post will be from a slightly different point of view. Not “What do they need from you,” rather … “What can you do for them and why is it important they understand this and soon learn they can't live without you.” Essentially, the next 15 seconds of your pitch needs to revolve around you … the hero in the story … and how you can fix everything imaginable under the sun. You need to convince the room why out of all the candidates applying for the job, YOU are the best thing since sliced bread. And trust me … it's easier than you think … but it can be the hardest thing you ever have to do.
Let's take a look at the curse of Snow White. In this story, the Evil Queen put a spell on Snow White and put her to sleep. She wasn't able to wake up for just any reason, she needed to be kissed by her one true love. It was the skills that Prince Charming possessed that made him not just the best choice for the job, but the only person in the Enchanted Forrest that could be called upon.
This same concept applies for our friendly plumbing duo. Princess Peach is often caught in the clutches of the Koopa's and it takes the special skills of a duo from Brooklyn who can grow to double their size when attacked by a sparkling mushroom to fill the needs of this particular hero story.
What is the bottom line?
Here is the bottom line. If you are going to spend time showing off that you care about them by identifying the needs of their organization, you better be able to demonstrate in only 15 seconds. You need to demonstrate not only the reasons why you are best person, but the ONLY person in the world who is ready, willing, and able to fill those needs. Don't be too over the top, but understand that this is where you will be providing the first bits of information from which your interviewers will be learning about you, and forming their initial questions. In your 60 second pitch, you need to grab your audience's attention, show off why you are great, and then quickly transition into the last 15 seconds. This last and most critical part of your 60 seconds of fame will be the focus of my next blog post. Good luck!
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