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How to Create a Compelling Elevator Pitch with Shane Meeker, Keynote Storytelling Speaker: Show Notes & Transcript

Post | Sep 20, 2022

Welcome back to Marketing Smarts! From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini (that’s us) comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. We deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from our combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. We tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

This is Episode #116 and we’re talking elevator pitches with guest Shane Meeker, a Keynote Storytelling Speaker, movie analogy extraordinaire, and Author of StoryMythos: A Movie Guide to Better Business Stories. Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and your other favorite podcast spots – follow and leave a 5-star review if you’re exercising your Marketing Smarts!

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Marketing Smarts Episode #116: How to Create a Compelling Elevator Pitch with Shane Meeker, Keynote Storytelling Speaker

Short and sweet! That’s the rule to live by when it comes to your elevator pitch. Have you worked on refining yours lately? A compelling elevator pitch can open so many doors for your business – and not just the elevator doors. Great elevator pitches are short thanks to sound bites, keep your audience in mind, let the point-of-difference (POD) come through, and leave your audience wanting more. We wanted you to learn from the best of the best when it comes to elevator pitches, so we welcomed on Shane Meeker. He’s a Keynote Storytelling Speaker, movie analogy extraordinaire, and Author of StoryMythos: A Movie Guide to Better Business Stories. This episode covers everything from Star Wars to constructive criticism. Here’s a small sample of what you will hear in this episode:

  • How do you create a compelling elevator pitch?
  • What should a full-version pitch look like?
  • How do you start conversations with strangers?
  • Should your pitch be short?
  • How do you know you have a strong pitch?
  • What is a POD?
  • How do you get to know your audience?
  • Why leave them wanting more?

And as always, if you need help in building your Marketing Smarts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at:

Check out the episode, show notes, and transcript below:

Show Notes

What is Marketing Smarts?

From brand-building and marketing veterans Anne Candido and April Martini comes a podcast committed to cutting through all the confusing marketing BS so you can actually understand how to take action and change your business today. They deep-dive into topics most would gloss-over, infusing real-world examples from their combined 35+ years of corporate and agency experience. They tell it how it is so whether you are just starting out or have been in business awhile, you have the Marketing Smarts to immediately impact your business.

How do I exercise my Marketing Smarts?

Thanks for listening to Marketing Smarts. Get in touch here to become a savvier marketer. 


Please note: this transcript is not 100% accurate.

Anne Candido 0:02
This is Marketing Smarts – a podcast committed to helping you become a savvier marketing leader, no matter your level. In each episode, we will dive into a relevant topic or challenge that marketing leaders are currently facing. We will also give you practical tools and applications that will help you put what you learn into practice today. And if you miss anything, don’t worry, we put worksheets on our website that summarize the key points. Now, let’s get to it. Welcome to Marketing Smarts. I’m Anne Candido, and I am April Martini. And today we’re going to talk about how to create a compelling elevator pitch. As the name implies, the elevator pitch rose as an opportunity to capture the attention of senior execs or upper level folks that you want to impress. If you happen to meet them, or him or her in an elevator, and you only had minutes to make an impression, maybe less than that. Maybe less than that, depending how many floors you had on the building. Exactly. Now the name is broadened to any situation only gives you minutes to make a pitch to capture the attention of someone so they want to know more.

April Martini 1:04
Yes, and as a point of reference, elevator pitches have been made popular by shows like Shark Tank, but in your everyday world, you’re making elevator pitches all of the time, when your 30 minute pitch meeting to your boss gets cut to five to 10 minutes, or when you’re trying to when new work and your client has a five minute attention span, which also happens. Or when you’re cold calling prospects or leads or influencers or journalists pretty much anybody you don’t know, but you want to capture their attention. This all requires an effective elevator pitch.

Anne Candido 1:34
Yeah, you can almost count social as a type of elevator pitch as well as just a different platform as you’re trying to capture people’s attention as you’re scrolling. But we’ll kind of focus on the things that April will just mention for most of this. And because creating an elevator pitch is really a form of storytelling, shortened storytelling, the storytelling all the same. We have a special guest who’s actually one of my very favorite people. His name is Shane Meeker is the author of the book StoryMythos. And he’s a storytelling keynote speaker. Hi, Shane. Love to be the introduce yourself, everybody.

Shane Meeker 2:08
Oh, well, hello. And thank you both for for having me. For those of you that don’t know, Anna and I worked together many years. And April, it’s a pleasure to meet you as well. So thank you both for having me on your show. And yeah, so my name is Shane Meeker, and I’m a storytelling kind of presenter, keynote speaker, coach, and workshop facilitator, I suppose. And I’m also the Procter & Gamble company historian and corporate storyteller. I know that title sounds totally made up. But But I actually that is the title. And I got that because I was first hired in as an industrial designer. And I did design for quite a while. And I love the design industry in the design world. But I’m also a big movie buff. And every movie buff at some point, wonders if they could write a movie. And so I had a couple ideas and a couple ideas. And so I started writing them out and quickly learned something, which is no matter how many movies you watch, it actually doesn’t help you write them. And those skills have nothing to do with each other at all. And my screenplays were awful. And so I hadn’t put in my 10,000 hours, as Malcolm Gladwell would call it, you know, in his book, Outliers, the practice, if you will. So I started spending my weekends in LA, sometimes taking classes, I took classes in Chicago to class in New York, I go to, you know, different film festivals, I would read any book I could find on it, you know, it studied psychology of storytelling, mythology, anything I could get my hands on, and one day realized everything I was learning, I could, you know, apply back to the business world. And I actually worked in our pampers brand at the time. And I went to my boss one day and told her that I had figured out how to use what works in Star Wars to solve innovation problems. And you have to have the right boss when you say that I did, she was awesome. And she said, Well, Shane, you know, I, I don’t know exactly what you mean by that. But I’m intrigued. Sure, you know, give it a go. And I started teaching storytelling is just kind of a, an innovation tool as a communications tool as a strategy tool. It’s just a presentation tool. I mean, it was incredibly flexible, and been doing that kind of ever since, you know, enough that they, you know, created that position. And let me do it pretty much, you know, full time and then the really cool too. And that as long as you know, I take vacations stuff I also share externally, and I share companies like Walt Disney and FedEx, and Nationwide and Lockheed Martin, because, you know, everyone’s got great stories to tell. Everyone’s got great stories to tell. And, and so I do workshops, and you know, and keynotes and sessions just to help them you know, really see and enhance that inner storyteller that I know everyone has.

Anne Candido 4:41
That’s awesome. And I love what you said about just because you’ve seen a bunch of movies doesn’t necessarily make you a good screenwriter because we say all that time about marketing, just because you look at marketing doesn’t actually make you a good marketer.

Shane Meeker 4:54
It makes you good critical. make you a good critic. Like I’m sure I know what I like right? I maybe know why I like it don’t doesn’t mean I could do it better, though, doesn’t mean I couldn’t do it. Yeah, the right the very different skill sets.

Anne Candido 5:06
But I appreciate all the studying you’ve done, which makes you an awesome expert to help us with this episode. So we’ll jump in. So how to create a compelling elevator pitch. The first point is keep it short by using sound bites. So the biggest mistake people make is they try to load way too much into an elevator pitch. So they think the listener needs to know as much as they do in order to be able to get it and be able to absorb it and be able to react to it. But really, the trick to a strong elevator pitch is to selectively pull out sound bites that do four things, the first has to set up the challenge the second and these provide a solution. The third gives a compelling anecdote. And four, it ends with a need or a question depending on the audience. So let me give an example. So I have this new idea for how we can generate more leads to a new marketing tool I discovered. That is your setup, it sets up the challenge. This marketing tool allows you to set up customized drip campaigns to our target, we have difficulty reaching, that’s the solution. The company claims other businesses like ours have 10 Extra leads in the first month. That’s a compelling anecdote to kind of get somebody’s attention like, huh, Mmm, that’s interesting to me. And then I’m trying to secure 5000 to do a test and learn or can I have 5000? For a test similar? Which is your statement or your question depending on the audience. So if I had said that all together, that would take me probably what 1015 seconds to kind of get through, and you told like a very complete story, in that whole thing, people are starting to kind of understand where you’re coming from, why you’re doing it, what they might need from you, all of this, that’s important in order to be able to provide a very compelling elevator pitch. So many will tend to embellish this whole very simple story with a lot of superfluous details that actually will come up as the dialog starts to be generated. And that is really what’s important here. The point here is you want to create a dialogue, you want to have the listener like engaged enough in kind of capture their attention enough that they start asking you questions like, Oh, tell me more about that? Or can we set up some more time? So I can understand more about that? Or what would the money get us? Or even just a simple statement of Keep me posted on that? So Shane, I know you’ve been helping brands of all shapes and sizes, trying to figure this out. So what can you tell us more about on this topic? So

Shane Meeker 7:20
I mean, the first thing I would say it’s, I love the name, elevator pitch. And you know, when I asked him sometimes, you know, why do you think it’s called an elevator pitch? I always get the one answer, which is absolutely right, which is what’s going to be short, like, unless you said, you know, in the beginning, unless it’s a really tall building, and maybe you know, there it is, it’s got to be short, you had all the way that’s important. Exactly. But the second most important part, you allude to there at the end, which I think is is fantastic. And that is, you know, it works when the doors open. And rather than walk out on their floor, which they’re supposed to do, they actually stopped for a second, like, you know, that is really, really interesting. Listen, do you have a card with you? Because I’d love to follow up, or they say something like, this is my floor. Gosh, but could you walk with me for two minutes? I’d love to ask you a couple more questions. You know, if the door opens up, and they just kind of turn or like, we’ll have a good day. And then you know, your pitch kind of bombed, right, because they didn’t change anything that they were doing. They didn’t change the you know, what they were thinking about at that moment in time. And so seeing that quick reaction, that eyebrow raise that, can I have a car get something like that means you’re on the right track, you know, you’re on the right track, I often recommend to folks that they have maybe even a few kinds of pitches, you know, maybe a 10, second one, maybe a minute one, and then maybe, you know, a five to 10 minute, you know, which is kind of it’s almost like double clicking on each of them, you know, there’s that real short one, then there’s a little bit more. And then there’s let’s really go into some detail, but you probably wouldn’t start with a big one. Honestly, you would start with that small one and see if it intrigues them. I’m a big fan of what’s called the what if pitch where the pitch is actually in the form of a question already. Because when it’s in the question, it makes for an answer, like, you know, what if a kid went back in time and interfered with his parents relationship, which is, you know, a pitch for one of my favorite films from the 80s Back to the Future, right? Or what if you could go to a zoo today and see real dinosaurs, which is a great one for Jurassic Park, or, you know, products. Steve Jobs once said something very similar to this, which is, you know, what, if you had 1000 songs in your pocket, which is a great, you know, way to visualize the iPod, and then what if you could book a room with locals instead of with hotels. They’re quick, they’re visual, and you’re basically helping the audience see what you want them to see with the words in it. They’re very transparent and if any You want to get Disney plus out there, I’d highly encourage you to watch The Imagineering Story, which on Episode Five, Kevin Rafferty, one of the Imagineers there tells a story how Disney when they’re proposing new right ideas, they basically in some cases, they have to break it down into one sentence, one sentence, you know, to really convey the right idea, his whole point at the end of that, and he gives a great example. But his whole point, the end of that is if you know it, you have to be able to describe it one line, because if it’s hard for you to present it or to pitch it or to understand yourself, then you probably just don’t have it yet doesn’t mean it is not there. You just haven’t found the simplest, most telegraphic and transparent way to share it. You know, and you need to keep working on that.

April Martini 10:40
Yeah, I love that. The way I always think about the elevator pitch, you know, you said, Shane, you want that pause, or you want to see the look on their face, or they kind of tilt their head like I’m doing right now, which no one can see me. But you’re looking to hook them. And so I love the example of the one sentence because I’m always a big fan of saying what’s the one thing you want them to take away? Right, right. So in that moment, and you’ve we’ve said you have such a small amount of time, if you only communicate one thing, or they only hear one thing? What is that going to be? And I think that’s a similar exercise. Because just like the Disney example, if you can’t boil it down to that one thing you want them to take away, then like you said, you haven’t hit it yet. Yeah, there and it’s not that it’s not there somewhere. That’s right. Yes. That the way you’re saying it is not there yet, but not there yet.

Shane Meeker 11:35
Yeah. David Blasco who wrote Madame Butterfly, I found this quote online that he’s supposed to said, which is, which is fantastic, though, you know, if you can’t write your idea in the back of my calling card, you don’t have a clear idea. Yes. And that, by the way, is a great test, you know, for your listeners, and for everyone to try is to take your business card, turn it over. And in that space, how would you pitch your idea? You know, if you if you can’t fit it in that space, again, you’re leaving a lot of details. You can’t do it. But you know, like Anne was saying, you can’t communicate the whole story. If there was one core part of the story that you think was critically important for them to really get excited about, what is that one sentence version of that part? That they’d be like, Oh, wow. So how does that work? Or how is this why? I’m glad you asked, why don’t we grab a cup of coffee sometime? I’d love to explain in more detail. You know that? And then you know, it’s working. Yeah.

Anne Candido 12:25
Yeah. And if you don’t know understand what an actual business card is, and as somebody who’s 40 Are?

Shane Meeker 12:32
Still remember business card. Yeah, that’s true. That’s actually been a while since I’ve given out a business card, I have to say it.

Anne Candido 12:39
Yeah. But I do love the what if to you, because that speaks to opportunity, it starts to kind of relate based on what’s opportunity, and what’s possible. So I love that articulation of that as well. So our second point about creating a compelling elevator pitch is know your audience and be intentional. So I have seen it, and I’m sure bush in April will agree more pitches fall flat, because people don’t take the time to know who they are talking to. Alright, since your elevator pitch needs to be short, what we are heard you basically check the box on and we all know that there needs to be true, you actually need to make some assumptions about your audience, and specific things about your audience that’s going to help you basically relate your pitch to them in a way that they’re going to be receptive. So you need to know what your audience cares about, you need to know actually what they know, and they don’t know potentially on your topic, there are tendencies or triggers. And then you need to strategize how best to engage. And the more you know, and the more informed you you are about this person, the better those sound bites will be the better that what if questions going to be because you’re going to be able to really kind of like hone in on what is going to really resonate with them. So this means as Shane pointed out, you actually have to plan these encounters. I mean, whether it’s yourself or your idea, your product, your business, you need to be ready to take advantage of these opportunities when they arise. Too many people kind of get in these situations, and then they don’t know what to go do. And then the situation passes them by and you’re like, Well, I mean, that’s life, right? So don’t be that person that that situation passes you by be prepared with that 10 Second, with that one minute with that two minute, which you can then elaborate based on how much time you have the pitch stays the same, but you can add examples you can add more what ifs you can add ideas that kind of make that a little bit more of a richer conversation that really be very specific about this. The biggest thing that annoys me when people elevator pitch me marketing services, is when they don’t acknowledge the fact that we are a marketing agency. Right. So a very specific point if they would actually take the two minutes to know us know what we do know how we have our business actually set up, they would see that we are just April and I and we have a bunch of really fantastic and really talented freelancers or boutique agencies. So instead of pitching us to do marketing for us, they should be pitching to be on our bench Yes, right. And so when we’ve talked about cold calls, where we’re going to have an episode on that, that is a really big point of like taking that pitch and really fine tuning it to be able to really relate in a way that’s going to get that attention of your listener. You know, even as another example of a more broader example that people will be able to understand is like, if you’ve watched Shark Tank, which you mentioned in the beginning, if you see each one of the sharks, they all have a different personality, they all have a different things that they’re searching for what they’re listening for what matters to them. So Kevin O’Leary, which happens to be one of my favorites, who’s also known as Mr. Wonderful, he always asked about sales always asked about sales. So you should assume in your elevator pitch that you have something about sales in it, in order to be able to relate to him otherwise, that becomes a question that’s sitting there triggered in his head primed and ready to go. And he’s probably not even listening to anything else you have to say. So, Shane, what else do you have to say about this? I know you talk a lot about the audience. You just mentioned it before in some of your early examples.

Shane Meeker 15:59
So I mean, you know, as well as I do at P&G, we always say consumer is boss, because everything is designed for them. I like to think about that, from a story standpoint, the same way audiences boss, right. So you got to know, like you said, who you’re talking to? What are going to be their interest? What are going to be their concerns? And you know, one way to really start to think about that is to test them. The great thing about pitches is they’re short, they’re easy to test, you know, write out a couple pitches, share it with some colleagues, share it with some friends say, Hey, if you heard this pitch, what are some of the first questions that come to your mind? What part of this is most interesting to you? Is there is this confusing? Is it clear? What tell me when you read this? What do you see in your mind’s eye? What is the product? What is the service you think I am offering after reading this? So I would not necessarily recommend winging it, you know, to your point is, right, I mean, some people can do that some people are gonna do that. But I would normally recommend that it’s important to plan ahead for these, like you said earlier and to have a couple of those versions and practice them. Practice how you would deliver them practice, when you can tell, I can see I need to go deeper. And I see I can tell I need to go deeper in this part. Maybe it’s about sales, maybe it’s about the finances, maybe it’s actually about the marketing of it, maybe it’s about the r&d of it, you know, I don’t know. But you’ll be able to tell, once you do this enough from your audience, like, oh, I can tell that they want more on that bid, I should expand on that. But to do that, you’ve always got to be paying attention to your audience to at all times.

April Martini 17:31
Yeah, I think that’s a great point. And you know, we talk test and learn constantly on this show. And I think your point chain is really well taken of making sure that you are responding in kind, whether in the situation or afterward, like you said, to go back and refine what you’re talking about. And and as you were going through, one of the things that I thought about is, the more you can be in the driver’s seat, which comes from preparation, the better. So you never want to be caught on your heels. So in the example of Shark Tank, if you know, one of the questions is always about sales, that should be built into your pitch. However, if you don’t do your homework, then you don’t know that. And so then you’re having to react in the moment to what they’re saying. And Anne’s point about us being pitched for people to do marketing services. I mean, it’s such a hot button for me, because nothing comes across more tone deaf than you wanting to take my time, but then not respecting me enough to have learned about me, and what it is about me that might be compelling or something that you can provide to me. And so I think it is you know, and as we’re getting into this topic really deeply I just keep thinking about the art of it, right? It’s it’s just such an art to be able to react in the moment to nuance your pitch to learn about people. And it’s not just about what do I do for a living but who am I as a person? I think that’s a big part of the audience piece to it. Who am I talking to as a human being not just said title person out there as my quote unquote, audience? Yeah,

Shane Meeker 19:05
but you said some really important era thank April around time in particular, because even if it’s a one minute pitch, even if it’s a five minutes is a 20 Minute, there’s something that that by the way, is the most precious currency exchange in the story is time, because we’re any story to take place. Both sides are giving time, time to listen time to tell time, you know, for both, and I always make this thing you know, in my head whenever I’m getting ready to present called the storytellers promise, I call it and that is, I promise as a storyteller to try to inform, to engage, to inspire to entertain, if you’re willing to give me your only non renewable resource, which of course is time and so you know, for folks in the audience, if you’ve got to, you know, do a pitch if you’re being called in for pitch, have it scheduled, they’ve given you 10 minutes, 20 minutes, you know, an hour, whatever it is, just remember, you’re taking up a big chunk of that time, make it worth the time Show that you’re excited show that you’re enthusiastic show that you’re passionate, do the research. Even if you know someone may ask sales, they may not. But you better have in your back pocket in case they do, right. So you can still wire your pitch a different way. But just be ready that if they ask, Oh, that’s a great question. Let me explain that. And you can go right into it, you know, even if it wasn’t in the core pitch, but yeah, the remembering the value of time, I think is very important. Very important.

Anne Candido 20:27
I love that. And I also liked the point about reading the room. So, so much we get so absorbed in what we want to say and how you want to say no, and we forget to actually read the person or the audience. We’re a docking do that, make sure that they’re receiving it and make sure you know, what part is like sparking into them. What part might they might be confused by. So I love that point, too.

Shane Meeker 20:51
I would recommend everyone that you have some what I call friendly editors. You can talk yeah. Because you know, there’s there’s folks that I can show them stuff I’m working on. And I’ll get the you know, it looks good. It looks good. Yeah. You know, and that’s lovely. I appreciate that is, but you know, you need more of that. Well, you know, I read it. And so I love the beginning, but then it seemed I’m not. I am confused by this middle part. It seems like you’re branching off the two ideas. I’m not sure. By the time we get at the end, I wasn’t sure if you’re trying to tie this. But like, that’s good, constructive feedback. And you’ve got to have folks close to you that you can say, Hey, would you do me a favor? Take a look at this. What do you think? What do you think my key message is? What do you think my key takeaway is? What is the actual problem that this product or service truly solves? I mean, you know, can you pull out from it? You can’t defend it if they come back. And like, I think you’re trying to say this, it’s what made you think I was trying to say that? Yeah, you know, yes, dig into it, learn from it, you can take it also, that is not a simple thing to ask someone to do. Take them out for a Starbucks or a beer or something like that. Because if you’re asking someone to really give you some good detailed feedback, that takes time, that takes time, too.

Anne Candido 22:02
Yeah, that’s a really good point. All right. So our third point about creating a compelling elevator pitch is to make sure the pod or the point of difference comes through. So this can be implicit or explicit. So when you’re giving an elevator pitch of your idea, your product, your brand, your service or business in the pod, it’s usually found somewhere in the solution or the anecdote like we talked about. Like in my earlier example, I say that the marketing tool has the potential to 10 times to lead in the first month. So even though that’s not a explicit, least stated pod, it does imply that this marketing tool is somehow better than potentially other tools we might have looked at, and it does get your attention as being something somewhat compelling is like, Okay, I haven’t heard that before. Or maybe that sounds like something that we haven’t actually experienced before. So that could be a way to really capture people’s attention. When we talk about forthright people, we talk about coach train do, again, not an explicit pod, but it’s definitely something that people are like, Oh, I haven’t heard that articulated like that before. What does that mean? And how does that help me in my business, so it starts to kind of, again, create that dialogue. And it’s definitely something that’s memorable, when they come back to us, they definitely will tell us back to us, you know, your coach train do thing, I think we want to kind of be in this coaching area, or this training area or this doing area. So it starts to kind of create language too, that people can actually have a conversation about, we know we’re all on the same page. Now pod has tend to be more explicit and elevator pitches for products when it’s common to compare against competitors. So even if the competitor isn’t explicitly stated, so this is an experience that me and Shane had a gazillion times that I’d be showing up in the archives. I’m like, I need a new way to talk about Tide Can you help me find it? About Tide? Right or Unstopables you know, whatever brand I was working on at the time, and she was always like, oh, yeah, yeah, we’ll sit down with like Leah talk through that. And you know, he was always so helpful in helping us figure that out. But for example, like unstoppables right now claims that your clothes smell fresher for longer right? Now, that begs the question about what longer than what point you know what that is that but it’s still the comparison makes it show up like a pod. Now, when your elevator pitching yourself, it’s generally more implied because that takes a little bit more savviness it takes a little bit more style and tact so you don’t come off as selling like you’re being overly salesy about yourself, which is a fear that a lot of folks have so for more on this we just have a recent episode on how self promote without sounding arrogant so you could go listen to that one. But Shane, help us with a little bit more about pod is and how do you instruct teens about how to make these things come through really, really compellingly?

Shane Meeker 24:43
Sure. So, I love the idea of POD POD again, for everyone that’s points of difference. But then there’s also these things called POPs which are points of parity and right and being very honest with yourself as you think of your product, your service, your brand, your idea, you know, what are the POP because there’s always some of those And then what are the true PODs. And often people will think the pod has to be a technology or something like that. And it doesn’t I mean, that can absolutely be one. You know, you look at a brand like you know, Bounty, or Tide, which you know, always does a great job of demonstrating side by side demos, you know, here is a dirty sock. And here’s a clean sock, you know, before and after, you know, here’s a bounty paper towel, here’s a spill watch me literally, you know, watch this dish, go in, you know, covered in grease, go into Dawn and come out, you know, clean so the technology can absolutely be that pod, but then make sure you showcase it. But it could also be the experience, or the emotions from the experience, or it could be a combination of technology, experience and emotions. It could be all those. But you know, you take a brand like Airbnb, you know, which, Airbnb you know, there’s hotel rooms, and then there’s Airbnb, right. And their pod wasn’t booking a room per se, it was actually immersing you into a local community or culture. It was expert hosted activities where they would have like, let’s say the the person that owns the Airbnb is a painter, you can set up an hour painting class with them, you know, when they’ll do special stuff like that, which is really cool. There’s special houses you can stay in, like, I took my family a while ago, and we stayed in the Tony Stark Engame House. Which, of course was right up my alley. And I asked her to wow, I got I probably tortured my kids, but I made them all act out the scenes and filmed all over the house like okay, here’s this shot, let’s recreate that shot. Oh, yeah, absolutely did that, by the way.

Anne Candido 26:39
By going to battlefields as I was growing up, this is just another kind I took him to movie

Shane Meeker 26:44
houses. You know, just recently, I think was this past Christmas, they had the Home Alone house was in Chicago, you could build that, speaking my language. And not long ago, my wife and I went to an Airbnb and the Airbnb that we were at was just for a weekend like getaway. But the owner of it was a butcher. And had you know, this this great local butcher shop and left us some of his award winning bacon and a couple steaks, you know, just just in the fridge a little nice note, like, that’s a pod too. It’s that total experience, you know, or chewy is a great one, but we use chewy, you know, for our dog food and stuff, and you know, things like fast delivery and and, you know, good return policies and stuff. I mean, quite honestly, those are points of parity in many ways, because a lot of companies offer that, you know, but you know, Chewy, understands, you know, how a pet is part of the family, and they understand the emotion, they understand that. And one of the things that I found online was hundreds and hundreds of stories of how often people forget to turn their subscription off when a pet passes away. Yeah, yep, I saw it. And, and when that happens, you know, all of a sudden, it’s maybe been three weeks. And you know, the pet owners forgotten to do that. And they get this bag of dog food or cat food or whatever they’re like, ah, you know, I forgot to turn that off. And they they call up chewy, and immediately doesn’t talk about refund policies and stuff like that, they talk about the pet, they ask the pet’s name, they talk with the person on the phone, you know, there’s a compassionate conversation going on. And then at the end, they may remind oh, by the way, I’ve already refunded your money, don’t worry about that. And also do not try to send the food back, donate it to a local pet shelter, or give it to a neighbor that has a pet or something, you know, do what you want. And then the amazing thing is I can’t tell how many people online talking about this a few days later, they get a card and they get flowers, right, you know and it’s not signed by Chewy it’s signed by the person they talk to you on the phone. Right? And, you know, so you know, return policies and stuff like that really are kind of points of parity where compassion is the point of difference.

Anne Candido 28:46
They’re just a really fantastic and then you know, you take

Shane Meeker 28:49
something like Disney, you know, as a final example, and I’m a huge Disney fan. I love Disney loves everything about Disney going to Disney and the great experiences they put together. But, you know, Disney knows how powerful stories are they they know how that is. And their cast is all charged to create these magic moments, right that people you know, walk away and remember what when they’re done. And some of them can be very quick and very brief, you know. And I literally just, just a few months ago, a friend of mine told me this one and it’s amazing how many times when I ask people about a Disney trip, one of the first stories they’ll tell me is about some kind of incredible cast member customer service moment that went you know, and I said So how was your trip? He’s like, Oh, Shane, you won’t believe it. I’ve got to tell you the story. He said so this was he has two daughters and it was his second daughter’s youngest daughter’s first trip to Florida. She had heard that when you go to Florida you got to try key lime pie. So she’s really excited to go to Florida we got to I got to try key lime pie to there at the Be Our Guest restaurant the Beauty & the Beast restaurant, you know, and it’s dessert time and you know waitress rolled the tray around with some desserts on and immediately said his daughter shot her Hannah was like, Do you have key lime pie, the key lime pie. And the waitress is like, I’m so sorry, honey, we actually don’t have key lime pie here. But you know, we’ve got these desserts with one of these be okay, this one’s really good. And, you know, she went through and described each other and all that. And he said his daughter picked one, The dessert was totally fine. Had the dessert. Great. And, you know, they go about their day, and they get back to their room that evening. And they walk in and they had a room that had a little kitchenette in it, and they get in there. And there’s this, this Mickey Mouse head shape posted or note or something, you know, that was was on the fridge. And it said, Sorry, we couldn’t help you today. And they opened it up. And there was a full key lime pie inside.

Oh, my gosh, it’s amazing. And I

can’t tell how many times when I tell that story. Then immediately someone’s like, oh, my gosh, you got to hear my story. And then they tell one. Yep. So you know that pod can be it could be a technology, it could be an experience. It could be emotions, it could be your team, it could be a process you have, it could be a culture within your company. It can be a lot of different things. So don’t think that it’s just a tech, it does not have to be or a functionality. It does not have to be just that.

April Martini 31:07
Well, and I think the point you make and I mean, those are all such rich examples, which I think is amazing, but big or small. I think it’s about the impact. And I feel like what happens a lot of times is people gloss over the pod. Or they think a POP is a pod to get rid of guys. acronyms. Yes, April. Yeah, love the acronyms I had to add to take little jabs. crumbs are great. They’re great. They’re great. But I think that the other side, so either people under think, or they overthink. And I think that’s where things go wrong. Right? So I think in one example, you have the just true simplicity of you’re staying in an Airbnb, that host thinks how can I have a small impact on these people’s visit? That’s right, that’s then you have things like Disney, which is all about the experience throughout, but they’re still looking for ways to go above and beyond that, and stand out and be different, right. And I think that that’s what you should be looking for is really what’s going to cut through with people and really resonate with them. Whether we’re talking about tech, or we’re talking about emotion, or anything in between service and experience. It doesn’t matter. Yeah, it doesn’t matter. It’s what am I going to do? And I like to think about those things as moments of delight. Right? I love png things that is it. I know it’s a P&G thing, right? But I

Shane Meeker 32:36
know. I love that word, though. That’s great. Now, there’s,

April Martini 32:39
you know, there’s a local restaurant that does blow people away, whatever, whatever expression you want to use. Well, I’m sure Okay, fine.

Shane Meeker 32:48
I do the same thing I kind of in your right, it’s stepping back. And just thinking yourself, you know, if your competitors can also deliver the same thing, it’s probably not a pod. If it’s just an expected benefit in the category you’re in. It’s probably not a pod. Yes. If there’s an easier or better way to do it than what you’re doing. It’s probably not a pod. If no one’s telling stories about it. It’s probably not

April Martini 33:10
okay, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And I mean, just to put the final point on it with Tide, right, we use tide in this house. We use all P&G products in this house, quite frankly. So a little bit of a love hate for me with with you, you folks. But the Tide piece for me has always been about the smell of growing up in my house. Right? And I know, I’m not the only one that says that. But yes, I use it because I have two little kids. And I’m also a speller. And we have a dog and all that stuff. But really, it’s when I take the clothes out and I smell that it’s the nostalgia of that. And I think the brand does a good job of talking about that just as much if not more than it’s going to actually get it clean. And so I think there’s always the balance of that, too. It’s like what’s really going to resonate with people beyond the laziness? I think there is some laziness to what happened to you. Well, we do a really good job at this. And that should be enough. It’s no what’s the audience going to take away? And what are they going to glom on to? And then to your point, go and talk about? Right?

Anne Candido 34:08
Yeah, I love that section. That’s definitely a quick hit section. Yes,

April Martini 34:12
I saw you make your note. So I did. All right. The fourth point

Anne Candido 34:15
for creating a compelling elevator pitch is to leave them wanting more. And we talked about this a little bit, but let’s put a finer point on it. Because, as you mentioned, our first point, you really want to encourage further dialogue. That’s the inquiry that discovery, so you really need to leave them wanting more. We’ve talked a lot about compelling anecdotes, but what makes for one so let’s talk a little bit about that. So first, it needs to feel new or novel or unexpected, something that somebody hasn’t heard before, but you’re going to say yeah, what’s what’s going on here? This is different. It may it stokes curiosity, as you said, Shane to like, how did they do that? I want to know more about that. Like, tell me I’m just you know, maybe blown away, right? Or che Yeah, thank you, or it has the potential to have a meaningful impact on the business, so something that you know is important to the other person, which in this case, we’re talking business bit could be a multiple different topics, but whatever is going to resonate with them with regards to what is important to them as well. And you have that commonality there, that can become a very compelling anecdote, or creates demand where somebody’s like, I want that or how do I get that like, get gimme, gimme, whatever that is, right? So so what are other ways of really creating these compelling anecdotes that you’ve seen?

Shane Meeker 35:29
You know, the more I thought about this question where I was thinking, you know, this really comes back to just understanding good story fundamentals, like what makes the stories we love, really, really stick with us the way they do, whether that be Harry Potter or Star Wars, I pick whatever your favorite movie is, which by the way, I think is a great exercise to do. If you really want to understand how things keep you coming back and keep you wanting more, take a favorite movie of yours and say, let me break that down. You know, do I understand who this story is about? Do I understand what it is that they’re after? Do I understand what the obstacles and challenges are in front of them? And why I can engage in those? Do I understand what the stakes and consequences are of this storyline? Do I understand what the larger themes or lessons of the story are, because if you can unpack a story, it teaches you how to build one. And that goes the same for pitch writing, if you can learn to summarize a story, it actually teaches you how to build one. But to do that, you do have to understand those basic fundamentals like the difference between a plot and a story. A plot is just what happens. And honestly, there’s only a few plots anyway. And those plots keep being rehashed. There’s really no new plots. Right? There’s only new perspectives, that’s it. You know, Hamlet, and with animals is Lion King, and Pocahontas and outerspace is avatar. And I mean, it’s all out there. It’s all out there, right? So it’s a matter of how you’re reframing the perspective. But people don’t pay for plots, they pay for stories, and stories are actually what people feel and do, because what happens in the plot, so there’s that that human interaction component, that’s what we really pay to see. Because like I said, there’s only a few plots. If the perspective changes, we have to know what that perspective means as it relates to the person that it affects. So, you know, hint, hint, this is why most ads show a lot of people in, because, you know, you can spend a little time on the science and the technology you can, which is really the plot that’s kind of the functionality, if you will, but they quickly show how that functionality affects people. How does this make my job quicker, easier, faster, how it solves XYZ problem, how it saves me this amount of time, how it makes this problem go away? Something like that, right? But I mean, the people quickly get into that storyline. And it’s, you know, there’s three foundational, I’ll call it ingredients of a story. Now, just having these doesn’t mean the stories necessarily good. But there are three foundational ones. And that is, every hero must go through an obstacle to get to a treasure. And you got to have all three of those a hero’s the window into the story, those sorts of empathy. And empathy is really powerful, leaving people wanting more, because if they can see themselves in this situation, if they can understand why this is important, you know, because when you share your story, you’ve got to get across to things really fast. What does this story about? And why should they care. And to do both of those, you better know how to pull them into the story. Because you know, you always have a choice, you can push knowledge out, you can pull people in with a story that is pulling them in. And so you got to know who the hero is. And you got to create that empathetic hero that they can relate to whether that be the actual person you’re talking to, or a particular target audience that your brand or product or services for the obstacle is what’s in the way, it’s basically what’s keeping them from getting what they’re after. And that can be a myriad of things can be a lot of different things, you know, and but the opposite is also the lifeblood of the story. Because, you know, it dictates the emotion and the power of the statement. If it’s a problem, that’s uninteresting, if it’s a problem that people don’t think need to be fixed, it’s pretty tough to make the, you know, sound really compelling. So if the problem is really key in that, and then the treasure is that it’s what they’re after. It’s the end goal, it’s the end state, it’s the end of motion, it can be a lot of different things, but it’s basically what is the hereafter. So the way I sum all that up is, who’s the story for? What are they after? And what is in their way? If you can’t answer those three things, then there is no story there. I mean, you’ve got to have at least those in our end, and there wouldn’t have to necessarily just be one hero two, it could be a group, it could be, you know, several folks too, but you have to be able to answer those. And so if you want your pitches to get better, also not only dig into how to do that short, and you know, and quick summaries, but also dig into just storytelling trainings, tools and fundamentals. Because once you know what those are, that all boils down into how to do it in quick little snippets as well. Yeah,

April Martini 39:59
I mean, I think the The example of taking your favorite movie and trying to do this exercise is a great one, right?

Shane Meeker 40:06
For your movie. Yeah, take your movie, make a pitch for it. How? What would be your one sentence version of it? You know, your one paragraph version? You know, you could expand on it. So but yeah, that’s a great one.

April Martini 40:15
Yeah. Well, and I think, because it’s something that everybody can do, right? Everyone has a favorite movie. And as you guys were going through this point, and I was thinking about the whole leaving people wanting more, there’s this whole relatability factor, right? That has to be part of it. Which you have to think about it of how am I going to relate to this person? That is my audience in the situation of the elevator pitch or any story really? And what are they going to take away. So when we think about this point of leaving them wanting more, it’s letting me get them sort of eating out of the palm of my hand, because I’m really going in for the kill, which is a lot of times part of the stories of bringing them to me and wanting them to do the trail after right leave the elevator with me asked if I can walk with them, or whatever the case might be. To be able to have them it almost kind of flips it right? It’s no longer about me telling the story to them. It’s like them being like, but But wait, what happened next, or whatever those questions are, and

Shane Meeker 41:18
they jumped into it. That’s right. Yeah. Yeah. Yep.

Anne Candido 41:22
Yeah, that is really well said. And I think a great way to summarize a lot of what we talked about in this four point. So let me actually then summarize the four points. So how to create a compelling elevator pitch, keep it short, by using sound bites, the biggest mistake people make is that they try to load too much into an elevator pitch. Instead, use sound bites that set up the challenge, provide a solution, give a compelling anecdote and with a need or a question depending on the audience. Second is know your audience and be intentional such an elevator pitch needs to be short, you may need to make some assumptions about what your audience knows or doesn’t know, cares or doesn’t care about in you can’t, as she said, You can’t BS your way through an elevator pitch, or usually shouldn’t try to. The third is make sure the pod or the point of difference comes through. So this can be implied or it or it can be explicit. And we’ve talked a lot and that was a very rich conversation about what a pod can be in the range of pod. So go back and re listen to that section multiple times because that is gold, and forth, leave them wanting more, as we mentioned, the first point you want to encourage further dialogue, inquiry discovery, so you need to leave them wanting more, you don’t want to tell the end of the story, you want them to help shape and then actually can progress the story. Right. So our next segment is in the trenches is we’re going to give a little more real world examples specific to industries and situations but with broad application, so any of you guys should be able to digest and put into action. So our first entrenches question is I always get so nervous in impromptu situations, because it feels so awkward when I know the person but they don’t know me. How do I start the conversation to good one? Yeah. And really, the most direct way that I found is to actually introduce yourself, but introduce yourself in the context, and the framework for which we’ve just provided that allows you to kind of actually integrate your role into this. So I’ll give a little bit of an anecdote. When I was working on the London 2012 Olympic Games, and I was actually in London, our then current CEO, he was visiting. And I introduced myself, I said, Hi, I’m Anna Candid0 from USR. And he goes, What’s USR? So that was a total complete fail when he comes to a pitch. And I know is like, Oh, I didn’t go well. So what I probably should have said something like, you know, I’m running day to day calm operations in order to make p&g What are the most popular sponsors of the Olympics? Again, not somebody that’s probably going to roll off the tongue if you haven’t thought about it ahead of time. Yes. And some people will say, Oh, that sounds like really salesy, but I bet if I would have said that, he would have like, oh, well, that’s interesting. That’s different. Nobody actually says that. Tell me more, right? Yes. So don’t like get all wrapped up in the way that you think it sounds to some extent or how you think my people might perceive you just as we said, Try it test and learn it. See if how people react to it and then you can adjust. Now there’s another aspect of this where you know, duly CEOs expect everyone to know who they are, but if they don’t, and or if this is somebody else’s, maybe not a CEO, start with some sort of interaction where you have like, come into contact with them. And if you didn’t come into contact directly, so maybe it was in a town hall they gave or maybe it wasn’t some sort of presentation they gave so just kind of try to find a connection point so it doesn’t feel as awkward just to be like, Hey, I’m in you know, that kind of thing. But again, the goal of this impromptu is really generate report and dialogue is not to like try to like do your 10 second pitch in order to get like $100,000 It’s a lot of If that’s not how that works, here’s my moment, I’m going to ask for my raise, or I’m going to ask for my money for my project. That’s, that’s generally takes a little bit more style and finesse than that. But Shane, what’s your thoughts on this one?

Shane Meeker 45:10
Yeah. Well, I mean, to go back to something, you know, I’d mentioned earlier, that’s why I’d always have a handful of different kinds of pitches. Right. Right. And because and that could be different situations as well as different times to you know, are you talking about yourself and certain skills that you have? Or you know, passions? Is it more about a particular product or service that you have an idea for? What are you trying to create interest around? And you again, got to get across that real quick, what is this about? And why should they care? And so just always go back and think about what you say, and I love your counsel, have a habit prepared, have it prepared, because I mean, again, some people can wing it, and it comes off awesome. But it’s, that’s a riskier thing to do. It is one of the things I would recommend for folks, especially if you get nervous around some of those kinds of situations or take some improv classes. Improv classes have become so popular in business, and I’ve taken many of them and I love them. And it’s not that they expect you to get out and do comedy routines and stuff. They don’t you learn improv, because it’s all about the, the accepting the situation, adapting to it quickly, and then reacting, and doing it in a way that still feels confident and comfortable. Even if it’s something that they do catch you off guard with a question isn’t like, oh, gosh, I hadn’t thought about that angle of it or so you know, there’s still going to happen, and you’ve got to be ready for it. But improv classes help with that a lot. And you can find those in almost every city, I believe in every city and you know, just sign up for some of the improv basics. You know, the Yes, and principle. You know, it’s accepting what we just said or happened and then adding right to it, just running with it, you know, but they get you comfortable with that, which is which I think the important thing? Oh, the last thing I would say to Ron, I think was Robert Frost had a great quote, where he said, no surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader, no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. Basically, his point in that was that you have to be the mirror of the emotion that you want your audience to feel. So, you know, and sometimes we forget about that. But actually how you present it can be just as important as the content itself. Because you know, if you’re in the elevator, and they asking you, oh, my pitch? Well, you know, I don’t really thought much about it. But yeah, you know, I’m exaggerating. But if you act unexcited, if you act unenthusiastic, if you act, not passionate about it, it’s hard for them to then want to be if you’re not going to show that so, you know, when you deliver it, give that great enthusiasm, you know, show that you’re comfortable talking about it, that you’re confident about it and that you’re passionate about the idea, make sure that comes through as well.

April Martini 47:53
Yes, and that’s perfect. That’s perfect. That’s perfect. That’s perfect. I think there’s also the practice of speaking to other people, like the conversation piece of it. And I think that there’s a lack of this going on right now, quite frankly, given COVID and not having to have these interactions with others. You talked about improv and I think that’s super smart. And I’m someone who’s a while I am definitely a student. You just saw that but presentation skills and finessing the way you Yeah, getting yeah, having the ability to speak confidently, but not overtaking the room. I mean, there’s just so many nuances. And one of my tangents is some worry about the next generation and not being in an office and having to converse with people on a regular basis and having that built in forum to be able to do that. But as you were talking, I was just thinking so much about I said art before, but conversation in and of itself is an art. And so practicing this and practicing. I mean, I remember being super young and being in rooms that I really had no business being in at the time, but a CEO that took me under his wing and I was a gofer, a doer all the things for him right as I was working hard, and that’s why he wanted me there. But then I would be given opportunities to stand up in front of these rooms of people that were tenured far beyond my years. And just standing literally in front of a mirror and thinking to myself, I have to exude competence, otherwise, I’m going to lose them. So how do I do that? How am I going to show up? And then how am I going to continue the conversation? It was I have to give the presentation. And then I have to be available for questions. And then I have to go to cocktail hour and what do I have to offer these people? But I just think it’s so important to all the points that were made in this question and throughout the episode to be able to converse with others and know how to do that. Well. Yes, absolutely.

Anne Candido 49:56
Yeah. So you quoted Robert Frost, I think the tendency for a lot of People went in that question is the more Mark Twain quote, which is better be quiet and let people think you’re stupid than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Right? That was Mark Twain. And stuff like that. You’re right. Yes, I paraphrase that a little bit. But as you were saying that was like that’s what people’s tendency is. And I think what you hear all of us say is, you need to get over that you need to do the more of the Robert Frost side of the story don’t. Yep. All right. So our second in the trenches question, how do I know I have a strong pitch, I’ll be a little flippant, but I think it’s true what I say when you get the response you want. But Shane, I know you’ve looked at multiple pitches from multiple different angles, and you said, you coach and train people all around this whole kind of topic. So how do you kind of help people figure out how to like iterate and test and learn and what should they expect from the person, their audience, when they know that they’re actually getting that attention if they so seek?

Shane Meeker 50:56
So you know, this one, again, this is where I think testing really comes in. And the great thing about a pitch isn’t that, like, you have to write 12 pages, you know, before you can test it, I mean, you write in a sentence or two, which is great, you know, so you can be very iterative with it. And oftentimes, what I’ll do, especially with my group of close editors, you know, who are my friends that I’m like, I know that they can, they’ll give me some, you know, really constructive feedback is all send, you know, a page of iteration, sometimes of the same pitch, you know, here’s a slightly focus more on this point, this one is slightly focused more on this particular point, this idea, you know, in which ones, you know, when I kind of have them, you know, you can have power data, you can have you do it however you want, you can just have a conversation or you know, whatever makes the most sense. But the key is you’re getting reaction, and then you’re iterating off of it, diverge, converse, diverge, converge, right? It’s called a first draft for a reason, because it’s never meant to be your last Otherwise, we’d start with Final Draft, right? There shouldn’t be, you know, some kind of some some development there and testing some things out. But the other big thing is make sure the pod the point of difference comes out in the pitch in some way. Because even those simple pitches that, you know, I gotten online and you know, shared earlier, like, what if a kid went back in time and interfere with his parents relationship? Or what if you could go to a zoo today and see real dinosaurs going to a zoo? Is not the pod there? Anybody can go to the zoo? The pod is the real dinosaurs bit that they threw in? Or the what if you had 1000 songs in your pocket? Having a music player that fits in your pocket? Was not the pod? I mean, the Walkman was out. I mean, you know, that stuff was there. It was the 1000 songs bit that was really interesting part of that, you know, or booking a room with locals and said with booking a room is not the pod, it’s booking a room in someone’s house in a local community. Now, that was interesting. So make sure that pod is clear in his somewhere in there, it can be subtle, or it could be very overt. And, you know, try different versions of it and see which one really says your message best. Yeah.

April Martini 52:57
Yeah, I think that’s super smart. And I think back to the thing you made and about being a little bit flippant with this one, I mean, I think it is, it is true when you get those responses you want. And then I think, Shane, to your point when you really work at it, right? So it’s a combination of, you get the response you want, because you’ve worked really hard to get that response that you want. And I think the piece of that, too, is always be working to make it better and more impactful. So the draft thing really resides with me as well as such a good point, you’re almost never done. Right. So if your elevator pitch gets stale, then it’s no longer going to pay off in the long run, you have to keep working at it, you have to keep iterating because you’re never going to be talking to the same person and giving the same elevator pitch at that same moment in time. So you’ve got to make sure that you’re always focused and working on it. And doing your homework and continuing to be better.

Anne Candido 53:59
Yeah, my favorite one that you used to use Shane, you probably still do. Was it? Is it Johnson space?

Shane Meeker 54:05
Yeah. Which is totally not mine. By the way. That’s that’s just a famous one. That’s

Anne Candido 54:10
the one that you use. Right. But

Shane Meeker 54:12
a great one for Alien, for Alien. Yeah.

Anne Candido 54:15
That was yeah, this very clear point. I did a pod where you’re like, and you could totally conceptualize what that whole thing would be. Yeah, just Yes.

Shane Meeker 54:23
That by the way, is the title even of a great book. It’s literally called JAWS in Space. It’s all about powerful pitching. I mean, it’s very kind of from a Hollywood angle, but the principles are still the same. It’s by Charles Harris. Highly,

April Martini 54:38
highly recommend. You guys can’t see it, but he literally just

pulled the book out like I

Shane Meeker 54:44
knew there it is. Right? That was not rehearsed. And another good one everybody to try is called selling your story in 60 seconds by Michael Hauge also really good book with some some helpful tips and tricks and things like that.

Anne Candido 54:59
Hi. have that. Alright are third in the trenches question. Okay, I’m in with my elevator pitch. Now I need the full version pitch, what are your suggestions for building that? And I know Shane, you gave a really good comprehensive overview of storytelling, and one of the earlier points that we were making, but can you give a little bit more specifics about like maybe the process that people should be going through in order to be thinking about how to like, then take their elevator pitch into something that’s a little bit more elaborate.

Shane Meeker 55:26
And again, everyone has their own, you know, process to do some of these things. But something I find helpful is, again, to deconstruct the storyline, a bit and take, you know, my this product idea, this brand idea, this service, whatever it is, you’re writing, you know, a pitch for, and start to list out some of the ingredients, you know, who is the main target audience for this right detail about them? They’re dealing with this, is this, this is this, you know, whatever it may be, also, what is it that they’re after? What is their core desire? What is the key problem that’s keeping them from already solving this problem? You know, how will this thing come into play? What is the pod for this? What are the P O PS for it? And you know, write those down, too. That way, you don’t confuse the two that way, you see both what are the points of parity, but then also, what are the points of difference that really set it apart? In once you’ve got these kinds of ingredients sitting in it was could each be on a post it that could be just on some loose paper, whatever, then start to find combinations of how to work that all and maybe one version of the pitch has a target audience very clear, maybe one actually suggests the target audience by just the problem. And the people that identify with that problem, because oh, wait, that’s me, I could see myself in that. So you could you can play with around with different combinations of it. If if you have to write out a whole story to then unpack it, that is one method, you know, I find it easier to start small and add as I go. But some for some people, it’s easier to write, download, you know what, write a page and a half on it. And then go back and start trimming and cutting, you know, what, whatever is easiest for you to get the thoughts and details. Because you know, if it’s something really complex, maybe you’re having you know, it’s maybe got a really complex tech technology in it or something, it may be easier to write it all out and everything it does and how it does it and then step back and look at it and say what’s actually most important about that page long period, you know, what is the key point? What is the key takeaway, what is the thing that truly separates this and makes it unique, then pull that out. But the key is to sit down and do some writing, that is practice, practice, practice, you know, again, Draft Draft Draft, it’s, it’s funny, you know, even something that’s one, one sentence is far tougher than one page, it is far right, you would think it’d be the opposite. Because it’s so fewer words, it’s actually far more difficult. Because now you’ve got to make some really hard choices on what really belongs in that one sentence where if you got a whole page, you can talk about lots of stuff, you can fit it all in there. But yeah, practice, practice, practice.

April Martini 57:58
Well, and I think it’s getting over the intimidation factor to write what you just said, I do think it’s worth a while I do agree, it’s way easier to write and write and write versus have to focus. But I think it’s the point is well taken, just get started. And then keep going. And don’t overthink it. Because I think that’s where people start to get stuck. And then they get in their own heads. And then they don’t ask anyone else. And then they have the perfect pitch. And then they go to pitch it and no one reacts. I mean, you can see that snowball effect and how that could happen really, really easily.

Unknown Speaker 58:33
And you bring up a great point, which is the longer you’re staring at something, the more you you start to potentially overthink it. And so and that is why you’ve got to take a break, step away from it. And the great thing is email with some friends again, you know, hey, I’m sending you a paragraph, do me a favor, you know, read through this, tell me what you think. And then then wait until after they’ve done it and then send some questions or something like, you know, what do you think this was? What was this about? What was your favorite part? What What was your least favorite part? What kind of product is this? Can you tell me that? You know? What do you think the most unique benefit of it is given what you’ve read or you know, I don’t think about what the question should be. But to do that, it’ll let you take a break from it. And at the same time, now you’re getting some quick feedback. It’ll take somebody especially if it’s a sentence or two, it’ll take them 10 minutes, you know, 10 minutes. You could do it over the phone. You could do it via email, you could do it via zoom, or teams or whatever you do whatever you want, but do take some time to step away from the content as you’re doing it right. You can get into it for too long. Yeah,

Anne Candido 59:37
good point. All right. So our third and final segment is a Marketing Smarts Moment when we have a guest we turn to say it over to them to wrap us up and really bring us home. So Shane, anything else that you would like to add? Please tell everybody where to find you. Please tell him about your book. Help bring this and wrap this all up for us.

Shane Meeker 59:58
Oh, well. Thank you. First of all, Well, thank you again for having me. This was this was a lot of fun. Always fun to talk pitch writing. And yeah, and folks. So again, my name is Shane Meeker. Yeah. If you’re ever needing a good story workshop, or you’re working on some pitch writing or whatever, you know, I can definitely help. I mean, hey, all I can say is what have some methods and tools used to create your favorite movies and TV shows could actually be your secret to better business storytelling, you know? Oh, yeah, some something like that. Right? Yeah. But yeah, if you want to talk more, or if you want to jump on a quick call or something like that, my email is My website is And that’s s t o r y m y th O S. And let me know if I can be of help let me know if I can be of help. Always happy or if you just want to talk favorite movies? Let me know.

Anne Candido 1:00:57
So then, and then, you know you haven’t met you didn’t mention it. But your book is a really good overview and synopsis of like everything we’ve talked about. So you want mentioned Yeah,

Shane Meeker 1:01:05
it’s in that’s on Amazon and Kindle, in it’s called StoryMythos: A Movie Guide to Better Business stories. So yeah, it’s basically kind of a summary of the journey and the insights I learned by taking everything I was learning as I was studying film and filmmaking, into then turning that into, you know, tools and fundamentals and tips and tricks and whatnot, creating different kinds of business stories across a wide gamut of things. So it’s, yeah, it’s a very flexible medium to think about. But yes, definitely check that out as well. Yes,

Anne Candido 1:01:35
I encourage everybody to do that. And it’ll change the way that you think about the way that you create content, absolutely, without a doubt. All right, so just to recap how to create a compelling elevator pitch, keep it short, by using sound bites, the biggest mistake people make is that they try to get too much into an elevator pitch. Second is know your audience and be intentional. Since your elevator pitch needs to be short, you may need to make assumptions about what your audience knows, doesn’t know cares about doesn’t care about in order to be able to relate to them. Third is make sure the pod appointed difference comes through. This can be implicit or explicit either way it needs to be there and it needs to be clear. And finally leave them wanting more. As we mentioned in the first point, you want to encourage further dialogue and create the scrubby so you need to leave them wanting more. And with that, we’ll say go and exercise your Marketing Smarts!

April Martini 1:02:22
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