4 Steps to Developing your compelling introduction
Imagine you have 2 minutes to introduce yourself to an angel investor determined to gift $5,000,000.00 US to a small business with a compelling story. How would you introduce yourself to this benefactor? Most entrepreneurs would start with the basics and the flow would be something like this, “My name is Jane Q., I am the [CEO] of [The Company I Founded] and for 11 years I’ve been working in the [consulting] field with [insert client names here] and other companies to [save the planet from a zombie invasion].” Not bad.
But not compelling, either. This type of introduction is more appropriate when you have the attention of the room for a set time and can “sell” your business and services through a presentation, training, or discussion. It concisely informs the listener regarding your experience and expertise – so they understand the reason you are “in front.”
A compelling introduction is used to sway the listener. It’s used when you need to capture attention and move it in your direction. This is when your introduction must be a story.
Here’s 4 steps to developing a compelling introduction.
- Begin with the end (start with the outcome). Your opening statement should quickly demonstrate the purpose for your company’s existence. “Two weeks ago the winds of extraordinarily dry Saharan heat blew shards of glass-like sand across my clients’ cheeks. The team of 5 teachers battled heat stroke, shock, and death. Dehydration battered their kidneys and hearts. After 2 tortuous miles walking in an intense 110 degrees, they saw the brilliant neon glow of one of our well covers and using the battery-operated pump they were able to save the lives of every team member with distilled water drawn from the manufactured wells we dug across the desert for emergency situations like theirs.”
You might think this is too “dramatic” for your company. But consider what you do and how your work is viewed from the client’s prospective. What do you DO? Protect companies from the harsh reality of an IRS audit? Rescue client brands from the obscurity that plagues small businesses in the noisy world of social media? Destroy the chains of self-doubt that keep leaders from emerging and taking their rightful place in the business landscape?Use your vocabulary. Descriptive words are necessary for a compelling story.
- Take “you” out of your story (make it about the service or product you provide). When you’re writing your introduction, do not start with “I” or your name, or the name of your company. Keep the story about the customer or client. Potential clients don’t relate to you as the entrepreneur, they relate to those who have already used your service. In the earlier example, the product is described quickly and in context. If you write content for websites, you could say you write SEO-optimized original content. Or, you could explain how your rich text helped establish Company XYZ’s as the industry gold-standard, engaged thousands of readers, attracted new followers and lowered their risk of banishment to the dreaded 2nd page.
- Focus on 3-5 steps (how the work achieved the outcome). In the desert example the story tells how the work saved the team: (1) the wells are easy to spot with a neon cover, (2) there’s a battery-operated pump for (3) manufactured wells filled with (4) distilled water. If your business is life coaching, you may consider telling how your client (1) decided to trust and (2) shared their history of fear and failure which (3) allowed you to help them discover daily rituals that (4) confronts fear with focused tasks and (5) keeps them accountable to themselves and a partner.
- Close with the beginning (reiterate the outcome). Don’t feel obligated to use an awkward “and this is how I save the world” closing. Simply remind the listener in a few words about the purpose of your work. In the desert example, it’s as simple as the phrase “emergency situations.” Remember, this is an introduction, not your full personal story. Time and attention are limited.
Once you’ve written your introduction, practice it. Repeat it. Try it out on a few friends. Marketing is, in large part, about your preparedness to respond to an inquiry. Don’t leave your compelling introduction out of your marketing arsenal.
A good story should never be left behind.