Keep it Short!
A winning pitch starts with a winning logline — a valuable lesson for innovators in any field.
Long before your favorite movie made it to a theater near you, it was presented in a pitch meeting. Hollywood screenwriters typically get three to five minutes to propose an idea, but it takes only around 45 seconds for producers to know if they want to invest. Specifically, producers are listening for a logline: one or two sentences that explain what the movie is about. If there is no logline, more often than not, there is no sale.
A winning pitch starts with a winning logline — a valuable lesson for innovators in any field. The most valuable innovations offer novel solutions to challenging problems. But without the support of investors, even the best ideas might never get off the ground. To influence the people who can turn your idea into a reality, you need to deliver your pitch in an exciting and straightforward way. All this starts with the logline — an art that screenwriters have mastered.
When asked what their movie is about, successful screenwriters have a ready answer that is clear, concise, and engaging. Business leaders are asked a version of this same question throughout their careers:
In his book Leading, venture capital investor Michael Moritz tells the story of two Stanford graduate students who walked into his office at Sequoia Capital and delivered the most concise business plan he had ever heard. Sergey Brin and Larry Page told Moritz: “Google organizes the world’s information and makes it universally accessible.” In 10 words, that logline led to Google’s first major round of funding. Moritz said the pitch was clear and had a sense of purpose.
A logline should be easy to say and easy to remember. As an exercise, challenge yourself to keep it under 140 characters, short enough to post on the old version of Twitter (before the platform allowed 280 characters per tweet). At 77 characters, the Google pitch makes the grade.
Steve Jobs was a genius at identifying the one thing he wanted us to remember about a new product. In 2001 it was that the original iPod allowed you to carry “1,000 songs in your pocket.” In 2008 it was that the MacBook Air was “the world’s thinnest notebook.” Apple still uses this strategy today. Executives repeat a one-sentence description when presenting new products. This same logline goes on to appear on the Apple website and in the company’s press releases.
The “one thing” should cater to the needs of your audience. A sales professional for a large tech company recently told me a logline that he uses to address the needs of his audience — IT buyers: “Our product will reduce your company’s cell phone bill by 80%.” With one sentence, his customers want to know more because his logline solves a specific problem and will make them look like heroes to their bosses. Above all, the logline is easy to remember and gives people a story they can take to other decision makers in their organizations.
Every person who speaks on behalf of your company or sells your product should deliver the same logline. For example, I worked with top leaders at SanDisk, the flash memory company, to prepare them for a major financial analyst conference. Seven executives delivered five hours of presentations. I suggested that — before going into nitty-gritty financial details — each person should deliver the same logline at the beginning of their presentations, and then end their presentations by repeating it once more. As a group we decided on the logline: “In the coming decade, flash will be bigger than you think.”
The logline was meant to stir up excitement for all the products flash memory would enable, like iPads, laptops, smartphones, and cloud services. As the conference concluded, the first financial blog post that appeared carried the headline: “Flash will be bigger than you think.” Loglines attract attention; consistent loglines are memorable and repeatable.
If you can’t communicate your pitch in one short sentence, don’t give up. Sometimes the language will come to you immediately, other times it might take more practice. Be patient. Once you master the logline, you will be able to easily clarify your ideas and help the audience retain, remember, and act on them.
Published By: Bellaland | Harvard Business Review - Carmine Gallo
Like what you read? Give a round of applause. Share it with your friends and family.
We are open for discussion. Let's keep the conversation going.
Do you have an article or story to share?
Interested in joining our Board? What Board do you want to serve? Contact us!
We want to work with all women and men who believes in equality!
Bellaland is a company for all people, good people who believes in a better world.
Join us. We are stronger together!
If you are lost, lone and miserable out there, you belong here more than anywhere else.
If you are sick and tired of fake selfish world, you belong here more than anywhere else.
If you are one of those sick fake ones, please stay away.
Do not make it difficult for us, here too.
Thank you! ~ Bella