How can you possibly screw up the second most important 15 seconds of your life?



Just before going on stage to give a presentation, or to conduct an orchestra concert, I slowly find a quiet corner of a quiet room.  It always seems to take me a few moments to compose myself and visually see myself in on that stage or in that moment.  It is because of moments like this allow me to be calm and in control of my mind and body while I'm in a very intense and stressful situation.

In my first post on this subject, we looked at what I consider the most “important 15 seconds of your career.” We looked at the way that you introduce yourself to other people. The mastery of the first 15 seconds of any interview, concert, or presentation is essential to getting your audience over the hump and really interested in what you are about to speak of.  Take a look at how I started the first 15 seconds of my recent TEDx talk.

Granted, the first 15 in this video was not a “tell me about yourself” moment, but it was my first and only shot to engage the audience and suck their attention into the story I was about to share.

Let's take a moment and look at the next step in the process.  What happens during the next 15 seconds?  We know that for many of us, we have only 60 seconds to make an impression.  The first 15 are all about getting your audience's attention and bringing them into your conversation.  The next 15 seconds are not about connecting them with you … rather it's about you connecting with them.

What can I do for you?

The second 15 seconds is all about connecting their problems with your message.  By asking yourself the question, “What problems does your audience have?” you are setting yourself up to be the hero in this story.  Your job ultimately is to be the savior of all problems imaginable and give them no reason not to buy whatever it is you are selling.  The problem is that too often, people rush into this step without providing ammunition clear enough for why you are such a wonderful person.  Before you can tell someone how important you are to them, you need to remind them of the reason why you are speaking with them in the first place.  You need to set up the conflict that you are going to charge into and save.  You need to create the “bad guy” in your story.

“Hello, my name is Jeff and I'm a wonderful dude. (First 15 seconds) However we are not here to talk about me, rather, we are here to talk about you and your issues. (Second 15 seconds)”

What problem are you trying to help solve?  Perhaps you are going in for a job interview knowing that they are transitioning to Google Apps.  You are there to remind them that they will be soon faced, if not already, with several challenges ahead.  You can list what those challenges are (keep it short) and begin to set yourself up for answering those challenges. Just be aware, don't tell someone about their challenges unless you are equally prepared to provide solutions for those situations.

Don't give them too much information … but let them know you care

Recently I was in the local supermarket.  There was an announcement over the intercom that in 5 minutes a demo would be happening in the back of the store and a free give away was about to happen.  I was curious about everything like most people so when the second announcement came up, I witnessed dozens of soccer moms and dads stop what they were doing and wheel their carts over.  In the back of the store was a table with several towels draped over it.  A carnival barker type of salesperson came over and started her pitch.  She mentioned that she was going to give a demo and at the end, there would be a free gift just because people took the time to listen to her talk for a few minutes.  She then asked a question.  She asked, “What are you always looking to do quickly at home yet often are not able to accomplish alone?” (or something like that)  She then started talking about the process of making dinner in a house filled with hungry mouths.  Once she had the audience nodding she went in for the demo of a brand new food slicer promotion.

Notice that she didn't start out the presentation by simply saying “I have the greatest tool in the world and I'm going to tell you why you are going to impulse buy it.”  That would be foolish.  Instead, she pulled at the hearts of her audience and even was able to bring more people into the demonstration area.  What happened by the end of the demo? Yup, you guessed it.  About 40 boxes of this food slicer had disappeared and for $35 everyone now had a product that they didn't come in intending to purchase.

Before you ask yourself, Who Am I? ask yourself, What problem am I trying to solve. Click To Tweet

Here's the bottom line …

If your introduction can truly be considered the most important 15 seconds of your career, the time where you setup your story is certainly going to be the second most important 15.  Think of your application video we had spoken about in the first blog post.  You have to break down 60 seconds into 4 parts:

  • 15 Seconds: Intro
  • 15 Seconds: What is your function and what is the problem
  • 15 Seconds: ??? (see next post)
  • 15 Seconds: ??? (see next post)

Before you ask yourself “Who Am I?” ask yourself “What problem am I trying to solve” …. then you will have an easier time answering the first question.

So tell me … are you going to seize your moment and capture it … or just let it slip away?

Good luck with everything and check back soon for additional breakdowns of the most important minute in your career.

Let's Work Together

If you are interested in discussing your application with me, I would love to help you out.  If you are interested in having me come to your organization or conference to talk about this and the other 45 seconds of your application videos, I would also be more than happy to meet with you.  My goal with this blog is simply to help you focus your answers so you can become whatever it is you want to become in your life or your career.

For more information, please visit my new website:  I would love to work with you.

About the author, Jeffrey Bradbury

Jeff Bradbury, creator of TeacherCast, and father of the famous @EduTriplets Thanks for checking out TeacherCast today. Please take a moment to find me on all of my Social Media channels!

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