I had the opportunity to Emcee an event here in Seattle this week that was a graduation of nine companies from a start-up accelerator. As I spent the week meeting and listening to the pitches of the budding CEOs, I was struck by the importance of story and presentation.
Each company had a great story, and some AMAZING technology. The start up accelerator had some great stories as well, and a great track record of helping entrepreneurs find their mission and realize their dreams. As each company's CEO stood up and talked for their six minute presentations, they were only able to partially tell the whole story of what they do.
I started teaching a story structure I learned years ago that is close to the same structure that Pixar uses for their movies:
This basic structure is based on all fairy tales. It can be adapted to whatever need you might have - even a new company:
There are really only three parts:
It's an easy structure, one that we all recognize and can use to help make people understand why we have created the company we have created, or why our software solution exists and what problem it solves. It also helps us see what the future will look like with our new solution.
Ask yourself: am I telling the whole story? When I send emails - am I telling people: 1) what I am working on, 2) what I need and, 3) what I hope to accomplish - or am I not telling the full story? When you tell the story of your company, can you tell the whole story?
ImprovMindset can help you present your story in an effective and memorable way. Click here for more info.
One of the jokes that I tell all the time is: How many actors does it take to screw in a light bulb? Six. One to do it, and five to stand around and say 'I could have done that better if I had been given a chance...'
What I love about the joke is the measure of truth about the statement. As a founder of an organization and a business leader, I am always struck by the amount of people who say "I would have done what you are doing differently..." And I agree! They would have. If they had been given a chance.
The 'chance' that everyone speaks about is something that differentiates people. Leaders MAKE their own chances. They don't wait for them.
It's in our nature to improve and build upon our world. To look at things and think about how to make them better. Once we see that something exists, then we can figure out how to alter it.
What I am fascinated by is the creation of something. The spark that is something new. The desire to create something outside the scope of that you already know. To risk doing something that hasn't been done before, in order to figure out what that new thing might be.
So ask yourself - are you playing it safe and waiting for the next thing to come along that you can alter? Or can you take the plunge to start the new thing, the scary thing? Are you willing to try and fail, or do you stick with what has already been proven to work?
In those moments I am reminded of the phrase that i heard years ago; "How do I do this - Just do it! Am I doing it right? - Yes." It is better to make a decision and find out what you learn from it (or from the failure) then to stand back and not do anything.
Forward motion. Take action. Screw in the light bulb yourself.
For more information on ImprovMindset's Innovation and Action workshops, click here.