Beg to Differ wants to share your Spotlight Pitches

Give us your best short statement about yourself or your company

Yesterday, discount we got a few great Spotlight Pitches – responses to a spotlight question like “so, viagra order what do you do?” or “what’s your company all about?” Today, cialis 40mg we got an idea from Mark Dykeman’s Broadcasting Brain post:  how to start 2010 by doing better work. Great thoughts, fantastic choices, and what’s better, the format inspired us: we want to publish your “Spotlight Pitches” on Beg to Differ!

Spotlight 2
The spotlight pitches we pick will be published in a format something like the one above. Broadcasting Brain was looking for work habit advice. We're doing Spotlight Pitches.

This is NOT an “elevator pitch”

Every time I work with clients on an “elevator pitch” for themselves or their company, three things happen: 1) they ask for time to prepare and make notes, 2) they try to figure out how much information they can cram into 30 seconds, and 3) they almost always end up sounding robotic – like they’ve memorized lines for a grade 3 class play.

And as for content, inevitably, the “pitch” that results leads to a long-winded, jargon-laden tangle of insider words that we then have to untangle, prune, and tune for a human audience.

Now there is absolutely value in nailing an elevator pitch, and my clients are always happy with the results. But it takes a lot of time, and you have to acknowledge up front that it’s an artificial construct. The truth is: you may never get your 30 seconds!

What you do get all the time are spotlight questions.

So your answer has to be:

  1. Conversational: it needs to sound natural, non-pushy, non-threatening. In other words, not like a “pitch”.
  2. Grade three reading level: use simple sentence structure, not too many modifiers or adjectives.
  3. Short: we’ll say 100 words or less, but you’ll get extra props if it’s “Twitter ReTweet friendly” – say 110 characters or less.
  4. Universal: it has to be clear enough to help someone who is not in your industry understand your thing. Think long lost cousin at a barbecue.
  5. Leave ’em wanting more: yes, answer their question, but in a way that also invites further conversation. Choose ideas that have legs.
  6. Take a few tries: Yesterday, people gave a few short bullet points – which helped us play a bit with possibilities.
  7. Open source: this is the Internet folks, so if you put it out there, it’s because you want comments, criticism, even remixing, etc.
  8. Open for re-publishing: unless you tell us not to, we’ll assume you’re cool if we publish,  ReTweet some examples, or (with extra permission) discuss your pitch in more detail in future posts.

Here we go, the spotlight question:

So, what do you do?

29 thoughts on “Beg to Differ wants to share your Spotlight Pitches”

    1. Nice work Nancy. And yes, I am wracking my brain about projects we might team up on (beyond being a mutual blog support group).

      Your pitch has a nice 1+2 narrative of its own. I often coach companies to craft a basic positioning statement using the “We do _____” (establish the baseline industry / product type) + “But we ______” – (Surprise ’em with something different. Wow em).

    1. Nice. Clean. You might want to try a couple of flavours on it though, since your industry is traditionally associated with stories. What kind of stories? How are they engaging? What’s your special sauce?

    1. That is a brilliant idea. I read page after page of those nuggets. It became addictive to see how many variants on 6 words people could dream up. Some are sad. Some are insightful. Many like little Haiku.

      It really helps McGill tell their story through the voices of their alumni.

  1. Ooh, perfect timing!

    * I help creative people get back to their studios.
    * I coach people to get their creative work done.
    * I get writers to Apply Ass To Chair.
    * I mooch off branding friends when I need to name my fledgling business.

    1. Okay, having talked with you since this, I have to say, you had me at “mooch off branding friends”. Creativity coaching is a fascinating area to get into, and tough to sell.

      “Apply Ass to Chair” is a great line – the most memorable and challenging of the bunch. But I think you need to get the idea across that you’ll be more structured in your approach than just ordering them into their seats… hmm.

  2. Cultivating the Inner Gardener is gardener-focused coaching designed to bring more meaning to your gardening experience. It can help you make better choices that result in a personal space that is not only beautiful and healthy, but also provides a sanctuary from the world that speaks to your soul. For more information, drop me a line at [email protected] and let’s chat.

    1. Interesting. Now here’s a challenge. Are you trying to make someone better at gardening (i.e. skills / techniques / advice) or better as a person (i.e. more of a personal “self-help” approach)? I’d say you need to choose one. By going after both, I wasn’t clear what I can expect from you.

    1. Good start. I love Strathmere by the way. I did a seminar for the Costco marketing team there a couple years ago. Great space for all kinds of events and a really lovely setting. But because you’re outside of town, you’re not necessarily top-of-mind, particularly with government clients watching pennies (the “muffin police”) and many large tech clients disappearing.

      I can see you’re trying to zero in on business as opposed to the weddings that many people will associate you with. But I think you’ve got to grab listeners with something much more compelling than 1) Country Retreat 2) that offers meetings. You need a serious hook – something no other retreat centre can offer. What is that? Hmm. “Close to Kemptville” doesn’t cut it.

      Any other Ottawa folks have any ideas?

    1. Wow. Fantastic idea. What a great idea and a great cause. Simple, powerful. Awesome.

      But after clicking through to the Web site, you really need to tell your story in a much more direct compelling way. As an example, here’s paragraph 1 on the site:

      “Bicycles for Humanity – Ottawa is a grass-roots initiative which aims to empower disadvantaged communities in developing countries through the provision of sustainable transportation.”

      That’s all true, and all great stuff. But you’ve got to get to the point sooner. Try this on for size:

      “We turn old Canadian bikes into new African opportunities.”

      If you’re interested, I could offer some more free advice on positioning this great charity if you let me use you as a case study on the blog. Let me know.

      1. This time I’ll put the reply in the right place 😉

        Hi Dennis – I would welcome the advice as we are currently revamping our website – and yes, you may use B4H as a case study on your blog

  3. Hi Dennis, great subject – I’ll take a shot at it:
    We provide analysis, education and support to help organizations better manage energy risk, consumption and cost.

    1. An energy consultant eh? Very cool the range of businesses we’re getting on here.

      On your spotlight pitch, I have just one word: tharn. In Watership Down a rabbit is said to go “tharn” when they are frozen in the headlights of a car. Which is how I felt when I read this.

      Now I don’t mean that as an insult. It’s an intelligent statement containing many useful words that my brain understands and accepts as positive. But together, the effect is like an overloaded power grid: too much light leads to darkness. (you can quote me on that by the way ;o{)} ).

      To keep the lights on for your listener, you need to grab me with simple lines like “we save energy” “we fight wasted electricity” or “we improve how companies use power”.

      1. Thanks for the feedback Dennis, it made me think more about the starting point of a good conversation – I certainly want to engage not paralyze.

    1. Cool. Just a couple of notes:

      1) “Source” is a jargonny way of saying it: “find” or “attract” or even “woo” would be clearer.

      2) There are three different thoughts here. This could easily be three sentences – or better yet, choose one as your “flagship” idea.

      3) Consider keeping it really simple like: “We bring conferences to Ottawa, but we___” and fill in the blank with the way you make them ROCK once they’re in town.

    1. One question: WHAT services?!?

      This pitch is a nice start at a mission statement once people know what you do, but it could be for a giant telecom co., a corner store, or an Amway representative.

      Make it Differ!

    1. No problem. Thank you for the original inspiration and checking in. Sorry for not pinging you directly. I’m enjoying your blog.

      Oh, and while you’re here (virtually at least), do you have a spotlight pitch of your own?

  4. I’ve struggled to get “the” tag line. Head office uses “Have a Tool Party and Get Hammered” and “Women.Tools.Knowledge. Pass it on!”.

    Mine included:
    Female-friendly tools for the economical DIYer.
    Party for the tools to save and love your home.
    Turn the place you live in to the place you love.

    But I just came up with this, and like it:
    “Home improvement tools, tips and try-outs for women.” What do you think?

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