How to Persuade Someone in 50 Words or Less. Make any pitch stronger with this powerful exercise.
Above all, I don’t play tennis. However I was captivated by a book about the tennis champion Maria Sharapova. Hence I was sold on it after reading on how to make any pitch stronger in 50 words or less in The New York Times.
When a reporter for the newspaper interviews an author. The last question is always the same: Persuade someone to read your book in 50 words or less. Make any pitch stronger in 50 Words or Less!
This is not a book about tennis, but about a little girl with a big dream: to become a tennis champion. It’s about what it takes to achieve that. Courage. Discipline. The drive to overcome setbacks. Because there will be plenty of them. You have to believe you’re unstoppable.– Sharapova
I downloaded the book that day on Kindle and loved every page.
Thus I now use the 50-word exercise to help CEOs and entrepreneurs communicate their ideas concisely. Besides it’s hard to do, which is why it’s such a powerful exercise. It forces you to clarify your thinking, which makes the pitch more persuasive.
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Most presenters lose their audience’s attention because they ramble and get lost in the weeds. But if you can be precise and concise, you’ll keep your audience interested, engaged, and excited.
Furthermore crafting a 50-word pitch comes in handy for a wide variety of scenarios.
- Generally in 50 words, an entrepreneur can persuade an investor to look at a pitch deck.
- Generally iIn 50 words, a sales professional can persuade a prospect to watch a demo or schedule a meeting.
- And generally in 50 words, a movie director can persuade a studio to back the film.
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For example it happened to Steven Spielberg.In this case in the mid-1970s, Spielberg took his idea for a movie and met with studio producers in a pitch meeting.
“What’s the movie about?” the studio chiefs asked.
A police chief, with a phobia for open water, battles a gigantic shark with an appetite for swimmers and boat captains, in spite of a greedy town council who demands that the beach stay open.– Spielberg
So then in 35 words, Spielberg pitched the idea for Jaws. Therefore this blockbuster went on to scare movie-goers out of the water for years to come.
For example in Airbnb’s first pitch deck, founder Brian Chesky said the company is:
A web platform where users can rent out their space to host travelers. Travelers save money, hosts make money, and both can share a local connection to a city.– Brian Chesky, Airbnb
So then in one sentence of 29 words, investors saw understood the big picture. Therefore the rest of the slides and the demo filled in the details.
To summarize and that’s the point of the 50-word exercise. Hence it’s not intended to close a deal. As a result it’s meant to make someone sufficiently intrigued with your idea that they’ll take the next step. By the way too many words adds to confusion as listeners. Thus spending too much brain energy trying to sort out what’s important from what’s not.
So why should you practice the 50-word exercise? I’ll explain in 29 words:
Condensing your big idea into 50 or fewer words. This will make your pitch stronger, easier to remember and ultimately;, more likely that your listener will act on the idea.
Make any pitch stronger in 50 Words or Less