What better way to get across an example of how we can win buy-in to our ideas . . . than to share this blog post from EO-London President Jennifer Jansen who wrote about her response to my recent presentation for them.

Thanks Jen ( http://www.sixdegreespr.com ) for giving permission to share this.

It was grand fun seeing those cerebral sparks flying, and I’m glad to know you and your fellow EO members found our program intriguing and useful.

“OK, I’ll admit it. When, as the learning chair of the UK’s Entrepreneurs’ Organization, I agreed to host a speaker who professed to be able to teach us how to sell anything to anyone in 60 seconds or less, I was skeptical. But Sam Horn didn’t disappoint.

Imagine a group of 20 highly-strung entrepreneurs and members of their teams – Blackberries and iPhones buzzing, minds racing, faces blank.

Sam Horn – a refreshingly unconventional American in a trademark black hat takes to the floor. The skeptics agree to give her her 60 seconds.

Fast-forward four hours. The room is alive with energy, people wondering where the time has gone. New ideas hatched, new friendships formed, and traditional ways of thinking changed forever.

Sam Horn is full of inspirational stories, thought-provoking quotes, and frameworks for putting her theory in to practice. And she shares these with the generosity and confidence of someone who’s built a career out of helping people succeed.

Have you ever wondered how on earth you can differentiate your own brand when competitors are all doing broadly the same thing, in the same way?

Ever felt like the last thing you wanted to do in a meeting was a standard PowerPoint presentation, but couldn’t come up with an alternative? Or, how to make a ‘boring’ product interesting to absolutely anyone?

Well, I have. And what I learned will help me not only in the continuous improvement of Six Degrees, but in the way I and the team think about client challenges and how best to approach them.

Here’s an example. At Six Degrees we’re pretty proud of our elevator pitch: ‘We make clients famous’. Simple to understand, and hopefully compelling.

But it’s a statement. It is a one-way communication. Sam’s view is that people should aim to create an ‘elevator conversation’ rather than an ‘elevator speech’.

So in the context of the story above, we’ve tweaked ours. “Have you ever heard of Skype?” To which most people these days will say “Of course!” “Well, we helped make it a household name.”

Brilliant. Now we have the start of a conversation. And where there’s conversation, there’s opportunity.

Interestingly, Sam’s philosophy simply replicates what we advocate in the online world — creating conversations — in our offline lives. It just makes sense.

I could write a full article about what we learned yesterday, but that’s not the point. I suspect a lot of what Sam says is in her latest book, POP! And I suspect that the best way to learn from Sam Horn is to see her in action (no, I won’t be getting a commission for this!).

Let’s just say that for many years to come, I and the team who were with me yesterday won’t soon forget Sam, in the black hat.”

Thanks again Jen.

Would you like specific ways to win buy-in to your priority project?

Contact us at info@SamHorn.com for details about our upcoming tele-seminar on WIN BUY-IN: GET ANYONE INTRIGUED IN ANYTHING IN 60 SECONDS.

Like Jen, are you a little skeptical?

All I can say is that this program has been a hit at the British Airways Face2Face Competition in NYC and has received perfect 10’s from discerning corporate audiences around the world.

Be sure to have a priority project or upcoming communication in mind when you register for our tele-seminar so you can instantly apply these innovative techniques to capture the favorable interest of your decision-makers. Go to samhorn.com/speaking/calendar for dates and times on Sam’s events.

Sam hits the ground running, and within minutes of hearing her one-of-a-kind techniques, you’ll quickly understand why Sam’s unique approach has helped clients land multi-million dollar deals, command the attention and respect of their target customers, and win buy-in to what they care most about.
Check out Sam’s Store at samhorn.com/shop

It happened again.

I went to a conference last week and met dozens of smart, talented entrepreneurs.

Yet when I asked them “What do you do?” or “Tell me about your business,” many couldn’t quickly communicate what they did in a way I got it and wanted it.

Talk about lost opportunity costs.

if you care about your company, cause, creative idea or campaign; the ball’s in YOUR court to craft an intriguing elevator intro so the next time someone asks “What do you do?” you can respond in a way that sets up a meaningful and memorable conversation and connection.

For example, I met one woman in the halls and asked what she did.

Her response? “I’m a project manager.”

Argghh.

I asked, “Want to play with that?”

She said, “Sure.”

I asked, “What’s an EXAMPLE of a project you managed?”

(Using the two words FOR EXAMPLE is the quickest way to make your intro come alive bcause you’re showing vs. telling what you do. These two words turn an elevator speech into an elevator connection because people can SEE what you’re saying and relate to it.)

She said, “Well, I managed a drug launch.”

“For who? What’s their name? Or, if you need to keep your clients confidential, what size company is it?”

(Vague claims compromise credibility. You need to give enough specific detail so people trust what you’re saying is true.)

She said, “It was a billion dollar pharma company.”

(See how this intro immediately got more interesting and positioned her at a level of respect?)

I asked, “What was the timeline of what you accomplished for them? What were the measurable results?”

(When you provide details of the tangible value you’ve delivered for someone else, it sets up a When Harry Met Sally – “I’ll have what she’s having” – desire to have the same results.)

She said, “I brought the project in before deadline and under budget.”

(Who wouldn’t want that?)

“Then what happened?”

“The CEO called to thank me and said they couldn’t have done it without me.”

(Quoting a real-life endorsement POP!s our elevator intro because it provides irrefutable social proof that we have produced bottom-line value for other clients.)

I said, “From now on, SAY THAT.”

When someone asks, ‘What do you do?’ say, “I’m a project manager. For example, a couple years ago, a billion dollar pharma company asked me to oversee a drug launch. We brought it in under budget and before deadline. The CEO was so pleased, he picked up the phone to thank me and said they couldn’t have done it without me.”

Voila. Now we know exactly what she does. We’re impressed with what she does. And we can remember what she does so we could refer her to other people or seek her out if we’re in the market for a project manager.

How about YOUR elevator intro?

Can you clearly and compellingly get across what you do – in 60 seconds or less?

Can you win buy-in to your business, idea or organization in the first minute?

If so, good for you.

If not, you might want to listen to the interview I did with Karen Klein of BusinessWeek.com on this topic. You can listen to the 8 minute audio on the homepage of my website – http://www.samhorn.com/

Or, you’re welcome to email us at Sam@SamHorn.com to order my CD or e-book on “Create a Tell ‘n Sell Elevator Intro that Opens Doors and Closes Deal.”

Sam Horn's Create a Intriguing Elevator Intro that Opens Doors and Closes Deals.

Sam Horn's CD Create a Intriguing Elevator Intro that Opens Doors and Closes Deals.

or

“I try to leave out the parts people skip.” – bestselling author Elmore Leonard

TED is proving we can say a lot in a little – if we leave out the parts people skip.

TED.com (www.TED.com – Ideas Worth Spreading) pioneered an evolutionary approach to a conference.

Forget the keynotes and breakout sessions.

Everyone presents to the entire audience and everyone has a max of 8-18 minutes. Yes, even Bill Gates, Bill Clinton and Bono.

What a concept.

As a presentation coach who’s Emceed TEDx-NASA twice, who coaches TEDx and Hall of Fame speakers, and works with entrepreneurs on their venture capital pitches; many express initial dismay upon learning they’ll only have 10 minutes to communicate their message or convince investors of their value proposition.

I tell them, “You can change A life in 10 minutes. You can change YOUR life in 10 minutes.”

The impressive speakers at TEDx programs are proving this.

Check out Oliver Uberti’s (design editor at National Geographic) TEDx-NASA presentation on how to crack open your creativity as evidence of how to intrigue everyone in the room. . . from start to finish. http:bit.ly/hzF0od

Check out the #TEDwomen twitter feed to see the distilled sound-bytes of these brilliant thought leaders.

For example, Omega Institute co-founder Elizabeth Lesser introduced a movement that has now gone viral . . . in a couple sentences.

Elizabeth implored the crowd to “catch themselves in the act of otherizing” and summed up how we can reverse the negative stereotyping that’s running rampant with this provocative 5 word slogan, “Take the other to lunch.”

Think about it. A profound idea that could positively influence millions was distilled into a 140 character Tweet that’s now being heard (and acted upon) around the world.

What message do you want to get across?

Whether it’s a conference keynote, venture capital pitch, luncheon presentation, TED talk or commencement address – its impact and memorability depends on whether you distill its essence into Purposeful, Original, Pithy sound-bytes that POP!

Want more tips on how to leave out the parts people skip so you can POP! your message?

Email us at Sam@SamHorn.com for an article with innovative ways to win buy-in to your ideas and initiatives . . .in 60 seconds or less.

“Instant gratification takes too long.” – Carrie Fisher

Did you know . . . 1.8 billion vaccinations are given every year?

Did you know . . . half of those vaccinations are given with re-used needles?

Did you know . . . we are spreading and perpetuating the very diseases we’re trying to prevent?

Imagine if there was a painless, one-use needle that cost a fraction of the current model?

You don’t have to imagine it . . . we’ve created it.

In fact, if you look at this article . . .

So went the 60 second opening of one of my clients who used this pitch to convince venture capitalists to invest in her evolutionary product and business.

What’s the point?

Will you be requesting funding or proposing a new initiative in the near future?

How are you going to win buy-in?

What are you going to say in the first 60 seconds to motivate your decision-makers to look up from their Blackberry’s?

If you want people’s valuable time and mind, use the 3 techniques I’ve created and teach my clients to begin with to capture the favorable attention of their decision-makers in the first 60 seconds:

1. Open with three “Did you know?” questions related to the scope of the problem you’re solving. The goal is to elicit a startled “I didn’t know that” from your target audience. One of the ONLY ways to get busy people’s attention is to immediately tell them something they don’t know that piques their curiosity about something that concerns them.

2. Start your next paragraph with the word “Imagine” and use the oratorical “Power of Three” device to paint a mental picture of the ideal scenario. Identify three best-case characteristics of your solution so they’re impressed with the comprehensiveness of your plan, product or program.

3. Bridge to your precedence with the words “You don’t have to imagine it; we’ve created it. In fact, in this . . . .” Then, introduce irrefutable evidence – whether that’s an article, testimonial from a respected source or the actual product – so they SEE your offering as a done deal, not as a speculative venture.

The above techniques instantly engage your audience and cause them to care about what you care about.

Many of my consulting clients have used this compelling opening in their presentations/pitches and have reported back its power to win buy-in to their projects, products and programs.

Next time, you want to shake people out of their preoccupation and motivate them to give you their undivided attention – start your communication with:

1) three intriguing facts they don’t know about your idea, issue or initiative

2) the word “imagine” to paint a mental picture of three characteristics of your solution to this problem

3) the words “You don’t have to imagine it; we’ve created it” so they SEE and BELIEVE what you’re saying and want to hear the rest . . . of your story.

Earlier this year, I read an article in The Washington Post Sunday Magazine about a tanker that had caught fire 800 miles off the Hawaiian coast.

Fortunately, a cruise ship happened to be going by and was able to rescue the 11 crewmen.

However, as they pulled away, a passenger heard the sound of a dog barking. The captain’s dog, Hokget, had been left behind.

When the cruise ship got to Hawaii, the crew held a press conference. The captain said how grateful they were to be rescued, but all he could think about was his dog abandoned, alone, on the tanker.

The world mobilized. Emails and donations flooded in. $5. $500. $5000.

The U.S. Navy actually changed the exercise area of the Pacific Fleet to search the part of the ocean they thought the tanker might have drifted.

The Coast Guard dispatched a C-130. Miraculoulsy, after searching 50,000 square miles of open ocean, they located the tanker and flew low to see if there was any sign of life.

Sure enough, there was a brown-and-white blur racing frantically up and down the deck. The crew couldn’t land so they dropped their power bars, pizza and oranges so Hokget would have something to eat.

More than a month later, a quarter million dollar (!) rescue mission was mounted with the donations that had poured in from around the globe.

Against all odds, they were able to save Hokget and bring him back to Hawaii.

Here’s the question.

Why did people from around the world mobilize to save the life of one dog – when there are thousands of people in their own cities, states and countries who also desperately need food, water and shelter?

The answer, posits Shankar Vedantam, the author of the article, is something called THE EMPATHY TELESCOPE.

Simply said, we can put ourselves in the shoes of one person – we can’t put ourselves in the shoes of many.

Our mind (and heart) can’t comprehend mass numbers. It’s too overwhelming. Our mind shuts down. Our eyes look away.

One person (or dog) is doable – a magnitude of millions is not.

What does this mean for you as a communicator, business owner or non-profit leader?

Where is your dog on the tanker?

What do you care about? Your cause? Your company? A new idea? If you try to get people interested by talking about the thousands of people you serve or the millions of people who will benefit; it will be almost impossible for anyone to grasp the essence of your message. The numbers simply won’t equate.

It is far better to talk about ONE client you serve – ONE person who will benefit. Tell the story of that one person – who will act as a universal stand-in for everyone.

Now, your listeners, viewers and readers can relate. Now, they can PICTURE what you’re talking about.

Next time you’re preparing a sales presentation; writing a blog post or article; creating a fund-raising campgain or working on your web copy – keep this in mind.

Where is your dog on the tanker? Where is your Hero Journey story of a single person who has a problem or challenge; deals with it successfully and returns home triumphant?

Tell the story of that one person (or dog) so vividly; people experience it as if they’re there; as if it’s happening right now.

And yes, this can be done with integrity as opposed to being manipulative. The goal is to remember that sweeping terms will go over people’s head – in one ear, out the other.

If you want to win buy-in, use a single individual’s real-life example to engage your audience’s emotions and mind’s eye so they viscerally “get” what you’re trying to get across.

That will capture their imagination and intrigue your audience. Better yet, they will care about what you care about because they SEE what you’re saying.

Curious about what happened to Hokget?

Here’s the link to that article in case you’d like to know, (as Paul Harvey used to say) . . . the rest of the story. http://bit.ly/7tfBYN

Do you have a favorite example of an individual or organization who captured the interest and empathy of their audience through a “dog on a tanker” story?

I’d love to hear it.

Tip #3 on How to Develop a Strong USP: Be More Funny = Make More Money

“I learned that when I made people laugh, they liked me. This is a lesson I never forgot.” – Art Buchwald

Many entrepreneurs think their USP needs to be serious.

Not always.

As Art Buchwald learned, we like people (and businesses) who makes us laugh.

One way to stand out from your crowd is to get a chuckle.

Read your signage, webpages, advertising copy and marketing material.

Does any of it make people smile? If not, you could be passing up profitable opportunities to win buy-in from customers and decision-makers.

The highest-rated and most memorable Super Bowl ads are almost always the ones that get a laugh. Inject purposeful humor into your marketing material and you can turn smiles into sales.

For example, Coca-Cola won millions of new customers with their ad for Zero Coke that said, “Tastes so much like Coke, our lawyers have contacted our lawyers.”

Denver calls their wildly popular Halloween event Boo at the Zoo.

A website for pocket-protector types is called “Geek2Geek.com” and offers profiles like “Tall, Dork and Handsome.”

One reason popular online shoe retailer Zappos broke out was their smile-inducing ads that said, “You know those salespeople who ignore you when you want to try on or buy a pair of shoes? They don’t work here.”

Is your business holding a sale? Don’t be content to put up a boring sign that will get ignored. Advertise, “50% off — and that’s just the half of it.”

A local ice cream store that feaured square containers received a lot of questions about why they had square containers instead of round ones. They got some free smiles by putting up a sign that said, “Why do we have square ice cream containers? Because we don’t cut corners on the quality of our ice cream.”

One purpose of a USP – Unique Selling Proposition – is to give customes a compelling reason to choose you over your competitors. When people like you – which humor causes them to do – they are more likely to do business with you.

What are some of your favorite funny ads, commercials or marketing slogans?

I will feature the best entries in upcoming blogs. Whoever submits the best one receives an autographed copy of POP!