Saturday, January 9, 2010

Getting linear

When you're excited about something, you want to share that excitement with other people. But sometimes that comes across as "this is so great, you've got to try it!" which isn't very compelling. Just because you're excited about it, doesn't mean that they will be.

I've had a hard time communicating why I think mind maps (and other visual tools) are so great. I just found something that helps me do that on the Knowledge Games blog. James Macanufo outlines a process for crafting a product elevator pitch. As he says, "The better and bigger the idea, the harder the pitch is to write." This is just what I have been struggling with, so I decided to experiment with it, and found it worked really well for me.

Here's what I learned as I worked through this process.

I tend to generalize, and see mind maps as a multipurpose tool that can be very helpful for almost anyone in many situations. This has made it hard for me to verbalize concrete descriptions of their benefits. This exercise helped me to focus on one beneficiary at a time and be specific about how they could benefit. I needed a tool like this to help me be more linear.

When I got down to crafting a single elevator pitch, I found that I thought of new and more specific ideas, that were more applicable, than the ones I'd initially brainstormed for each field.

I haven't word-smithed these yet, or tested my results on friends or potential customers. But I feel I have something more concrete, that I will be able to communicate more succinctly, than I have had in the past. This increases my confidence and comfort level.

This came at a good time for me, and I plan to do the same exercise for some other products and services.

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