Monday, January 22, 2007

5 in 10 - A Formula For An A.D.D. World

Optimizing Success In The Ten Minutes Allotted

By David Miranda

Someone once said success is where opportunity means preparation. Whoever said this should have added another caveat - when the opportunity presents itself, make your case - and do it quickly.

Today, most of us, whether we like to admit it or not, suffer from attention-deficit disorder. This pandemic A.D.D. is exascerbated by time poverty, i.e. too-much-to-do in so little time. The result is people gravitating to simpler, faster communications - those that quickly get to the point. Today in business, who has time to read voluminous reports and marketing collateral, wordy emails; listen to rambling voice mails or sales pitches with tedious powerpoints?

Andy Warhol once said everyone has their fifteen minutes of fame. In business today, we only have about ten minutes (or less) - ten minutes (or less) to make our case on whatever we are communicating to a third party. It is a world of elevator pitches and sound bytes.

Too often the most common mistake we make is erring in providing more information than less. A 5 slide powerpoint quickly becomes a 20 slide powerpoint. A business presentation typically spends more time getting to the point, than making the point. There is little wonder why those who are pitched to, i.e. potential clients, investors, partners, etc. typically begin with the caveat, "I'll give you ten minutes to make your case". How many of us can make a clear case in 10 minutes? The answer, more often than not, is not many.

The answer lies in the "5 in 10" approach. In journalism, reporters are taught to get answers to the the 5 W's - who?, what?, when?, where?, and why? These are the questions one must answer in the 10 minutes (or less) allotted.

  • Who? - Introduction of who you are and who you represent.

  • What? -Brief contextual explanation of what you and/or your company does and how this is relevant to your audience. Explanation of the opportunity, i.e. size, scope, etc.

  • When? - Window of opportunity, e.g. near, mid, or long term.

  • Where? - The contextual market scope of the opportunity. Macro, micro, global, national, regional, local.

  • Why? - Why the person should consider you versus competitive alternatives. Providing compelling reasons to do business.
In summary, it is important to keep things brief. Your audience can always ask for more information once you have tweaked their interest and they generally prefer this option.