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Struggling With Your Pitch? Follow This 1 Piece of Advice From Guy Kawasaki

Forget about adjectives and buzzwords.

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BY Tommy Mello - 28 Mar 2019

guy kawasaki advice on pitch

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

"I have a patent-pending, curve-jumping, highly-scalable, enterprise-class product."

If someone were to pitch you their business idea, saying this, what would be your reaction?

When Guy Kawasaki used to be a venture capitalist, he heard tons of pitches. As he shared in his book Wise Guy, pretty much every entrepreneur who pitched him would talk about how "curve-jumping" and "highly-scalable" their product was.

Obviously, they were trying to impress him. But Kawasaki isn't a big fan of these empty adjectives and buzzwords, noting that "unless you're saying something different from the competition, you're basically saying nothing."

So, how do you make your pitch stand out? Simple. Stop using meaningless adjectives, and tell stories instead.

Here's an example: when Guy Kawasaki pitched Privy -- an app that helps people share memories -- to journalists, he showed these journalists how his own family used the app to share the moments that were meaningful to them. (One of those moments being when his pug pooped inside his bathroom).

The bottom line? Stories are highly effective in an "adjective-infested world", and you can make your pitch that much more powerful by using stories instead of adjectives.

Use storytelling to motivate your team.

Here's the thing: entrepreneurs aren't limited to just using storytelling in their pitches or marketing campaigns. In fact, you can apply the art of storytelling to just about every aspect of business, including motivating my team.

How do I do this? Instead of just telling my team that "good customer service is important", I tell them a story about how I once screwed up with a customer, and arrived on their doorstep with flowers just an hour later. This story is compelling, it's memorable, and it does a MUCH better job at conveying the importance of good service.

Use storytelling to communicate more effectively.

On top of that, I also rely on the power of storytelling (and metaphors) to communicate more effectively with the clients who consult with me. Some context here: I coach several home service businesses, and these business owners often struggle to understand how KPIs work -- and why they matter.

I get that the idea of KPIs might be a bit hard to grasp at first, so I ask my clients to think of these as the dashboard in their cars. The gauges tell you if you've got enough fuel and oil, and how fast you're going. The GPS tells you whether you're on course; it also notifies you if there's traffic or an accident ahead, so you can reroute. When I put it that way, my clients find it easier to understand how KPIs work, and the importance of tracking them.

A compelling story can help you win over your team members, your clients, and your potential investors. So master the art of storytelling, and make sure you apply it to all aspects of your business.

 

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