Last week I spoke at the Montessori Learning Centre career day in Pickering (as you can see from the lovely thank you note that just barely survived my gym bag). “Talk about your business, what got you started and share some tips”, my friend Lucy, teacher, at the school says. “No problem,” I tell her.
Then I started to think about it.
What did I get myself into?!
I can explain my business to adults in my sleep (ok maybe not in my sleep… still you get the point). But to grades 4-8? All of these questions started to creep up about how to ‘translate’ terms and situations.
In the end it was a good excuse to take the elevator pitch I already had through yet one more round of simplifications. Not to ‘dumb it down’. To simplify. Kids are smart. They just need information to be communicated to them in familiar terms.
While it may not be as obvious with adults, often that’s what they need too.
So, here’s an excerpt from my talk… which I’m happy to say the children clearly understood, given the degree of interaction that followed:
“Architects, lawyers and accountants don’t put their services in a box, like cereal or iphones. But they need marketing too. However, since these services aren’t products you can see, touch or feel, it’s even harder to market them. People have to use their imagination to understand. As their marketing consultant, it’s my job to spread the word about what they’re doing, why it’s great and who would benefit the most from working with them.”
Needless to say, I won’t be keeping this as my ongoing elevator pitch, verbatim. But it does provide inspiration for taking the jargon down a notch.
So, if you already have an elevator pitch, ask yourself if you can use it to explain your business to a 9 year old.
If not… maybe it’s not done yet.