public relations

Why Winning the Moment Still Matters: Part 1

Think about some of the big moments in your life. Maybe it was when you walked across the stage to accept your diploma or crossed the finish line at your first marathon. Maybe it’s when you and your work colleagues won a huge industry award. People build their lives and careers around pivotal and personal moments. 

Just like successful people, brands, and the executives who guide them, also understand the fundamental importance of critical moments. Over the past year, we’ve taken a hard look at this concept and found (not surprisingly) the brands that outshine their competitors realize that each day provides distinct opportunities to win moments - whether it’s with customers, shareholders, employees, colleagues or clients.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll scratch the surface and explore the idea of winning the moment in greater detail. From breaking down the concept to hearing from experts on what they’ve done to succeed, we’ll help further define the value of the concept and how you can take action to position your company for success.

Since there’s no time like the present to jump right in, we developed a list of people that are vital for brands to win over.

  • Reporters and editors have two objectives: report news and tell interesting stories in a way that keeps readers engaged. Securing interviews, guest columns and coverage requires companies to craft and deliver well-timed content and stories that reporters can use to inform and/or entertain their readers.
  • Venture capitalists don’t invest in companies, they invest in people. For many companies in need of financing, there is no more important moment to win than when you are presenting to a potential investor. Preparation and intimate knowledge of the details can make you a standout. 
  • Industry Analysts by design are curious people on the lookout for what’s next. Winning them over stems from your ability to educate and bring a unique perspective to their area of research. Does your narrative show you can help them understand what’s coming next?
  • Conference organizers have an almost unending supply of experts, gurus and self-promoters knocking on their doors to speak at their conference.Winning over an organizer and securing that keynote or spot on the panel requires proving you can bring a fresh perspective or unique vantage point to the table while leaving the sales pitch at home.
  • Conference attendees end up tapping away on their phones and sipping on flat soda by day two of a conference...they need a lift. If you’ve been lucky enough to secure a coveted speaking slot, you need to deliver something that grabs people’s attention, keeps them engaged and makes them think “I need to talk to this guy/gal afterwards.” 
  • Customers are spoilt for choice and are no longer beholden to brand loyalty. The difference between earning a purchase can be as simple as a social media interaction. Creating a story or narrative that resonates across each and everything you to do is paramount to success. 

There are of course many others. 

Feel free to reach out if you have a story of winning the moment to share or an example that will benefit others. 

Enjoy the series. 

You have 60 seconds to tell your story: GO!

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"The name of my company is X and we are a next generation, state-of-the-art platform enabling ...." NO

"My company X offers consumers the only way to ...." NO

"We have developed a way for businesses to redefine how ...." NO

Almost all the presenters of the last pitch event I attended began with something like the sentences above. As you probably guessed, the goal was to best describe their company in 60 seconds. I have been to and helped entrepreneurs prepare for many pitch events in my day. Traditionally you have some good presentations and some less desirable. At this particular event I was rather surprised that almost all of the pitches weren't shaped with a little more thought and insight. It's ironic because several of the presenters were clearly intelligent entrepreneurs and had what seemed to be strong visions for their business models. Yet, what became very apparent was that they were lacking in their storytelling abilities. 

A quick Google search on how to pitch your business in 60 seconds will most likely lead you to someone explaining that there are four questions that need to be answered in one sentence (over 60 seconds) to deliver an effective pitch. The questions include: What do you do? What problem do you solve? How are you different? Why should I care?

While these questions are a good structure for organizing your 60 second pitch, as with anything the devil is in the details. These four questions are a good road map to success but need to be fused with telling a story that's engaging, personal and relatable.  Not delivered in a way that makes you sound like a robot.
So how do you do it? 

The answer is very simple .... you need to practice.  Sounds logical right? To tell your story with maximum impact you can't just prepare the night before your pitch event, the same way a TED presenter doesn't just get up and give a TED talk. It takes hours of practice, revising, switching things around, standing in front of a mirror, asking your peers what they think, all to strategically craft and shape the pitch to where it needs to be. 

Now of course practicing isn't the only magic bullet because you need to come up with the words first. But, ask anyone who has seen a well rehearsed pitch vs. an 'off the cuff' pitch, and more often than not the rehearsed pitch, given by an entreprenuer who found the words over the course of the practice process, will come off a thousand times better.  Why is that?  The answer is because more than anything, every time you give your pitch the real thing you are selling is YOU.  The pitch is almost secondary.  Sure some people like chocolate and some vanilla (meaning, some will love the idea of your company and some will not) and that will always hold true but everyone will agree that you stack the cards in your favor against the naysayers if they instantly believe in YOU.  If your words flow smoothly, if you have the confidence of being well prepared, and if you present the best possible 60 second argument for your business ... success is most likely guaranteed.

So if you are an entrepreneur who knows they need to be able to quickly tell their story (which by the way is every entrepreneur), my advice is ... start practicing now!