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finding-nemo-jokeI couldn’t help reflecting on a scene from Finding Nemo after thinking through this post by Michael Baum titled 60 Second Pitch.

After all, fine tuning the ability to tell a joke (or an elevator pitch) is not an innate capability for most. And unfortunately, there have been times where I have experienced what the image implies (LOVE this picture by the way) … the recipient is either expectantly waiting for something not delivered (the fish), disappointed by what they just heard (the sea horse), or just plain confused (the octopus).

In the sound-byte economy that we live in, you have a very limited opportunity to get your point across.  In fact, according to Michael Baum’s post, you have roughly 60 seconds. That’s it!

  • 15 seconds – to establish credibility and get their attention.
  • 15 seconds – to clearly define the pain point/problem you are solving, and for whom. A day in the life … the before portion.
  • 15 seconds – to articulate your unique solution and how you take something complicated and make it simple. Continue A day in life … the after portion
  • 15 seconds – to paint a picture of how big the opportunity is, leave them excited.

Fantastic perspective that as Product Management leaders we all need to understand and employ.  I’ll take it one step further, tapping into the Product Marketing portion of the role we serve, and highlight 4 key thoughts I’ve shared before that support the 60 second outline above:

1 – Make the complex simple – probably the biggest challenge I see today with many companies (especially entrepreneurs and/or small businesses) is the ability to keep it simple. If you are crafting an elevator speech, you don’t have 30 floors to get the point across!

2 – Creative with technical ability – to properly articulate the ‘why’, you need to understand the ‘how’. I have been in one too many roles where you have to explain, and re-explain so many times that it would be easier to create the message yourself. Having a solid foundation of understanding your product is a critical element to building the story.

3 – Have natural empathy- take time to uncover pain points and understand how these pains directly impact the customer. And just a hint, most of this does not take place in the Ivory Tower or the office! Get away from your desk and talk to customers, prospects, etc!

4 – Able to focus on tasks from way up high – make sure you understand how your product fits into and supports the broader picture.  In order to get the attention of the ‘C’ levels, you need to think like they do addressing their strategic needs.

5 – A great storyteller – I had posted previously that master story telling needs to be part of our product management/marketing jobs. Whether you refer to it as ‘positioning’, or ‘messaging’, or a new ‘category, or ‘market segmentation’, or ‘value proposition’ … in my mind it all comes down to the same thing. As product management leaders, we need to ensure that we become Master Storytellers!