Do you know your loglines? What you need to craft a persuasive elevator pitch

A woman expressing expertise and leadership in a modern corporate setting, aiming to engage with her audience during a professional meeting.

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In Nakuru, two different entrepreneurs illustrate the stark contrast between effective and ineffective communication strategies. Mwangi, who embraces the art of the elevator pitch, succinctly captures the essence of his Agri-Tech startup in a compelling sentence: "Our platform transforms small-scale farming with accessible, data-driven insights." Investors and potential partners grasp his vision instantly, propelling his venture into successful collaborations and funding rounds. His full pitch is below:

"Good morning! I'm thrilled to share with you a groundbreaking approach that’s set to transform the renewable energy landscape. Our startup harnesses a dual-technology system, blending advanced solar panels with innovative wind turbines. This integration allows us to optimise energy production by leveraging solar power during peak sunlight and wind energy during optimal wind conditions, ensuring a 24/7 power supply.

What sets us apart is our proprietary algorithm that intelligently switches between these sources based on real-time weather data, maximising efficiency and reducing waste. Our solution not only addresses the key challenge of intermittent energy supply in renewables but also cuts costs by 30 percent, offering a robust, sustainable energy solution that’s both scalable and cost-effective. Imagine a future where clean energy is not only possible but also profitable. Let's make that future a reality together."

Next, a different entrepreneur, James, provides the following elevator pitch:

"Hello, thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak today. So, my company is working on a variety of renewable energy projects that we think could have potential in various markets. We’re looking at solar, wind, and a few other renewable sources because, you know, sustainability is really key right now with all the environmental issues we’re facing globally.

Our main project is this complex, multi-faceted approach where we integrate these technologies in a new way that has a lot of different moving parts. It involves a lot of technical detail, which I can get into. For example, we’re using a new type of photovoltaic cell that has a higher efficiency rate, and we're combining that with wind turbines that have a variable pitch blade. We're still figuring out some of the specifics there, and there are some challenges with integration and cost, but we’re really excited about the potential here, and we think it could be big if we manage to get it all right.

There's also a piece about how we manage the energy storage, which is, as you might know, a big challenge in renewable energy, because you need to be able to store the energy when you have excess and then have it available for when the demand is there, and the wind isn’t blowing, or the sun isn’t shining.

We have some ideas around using some cutting-edge battery technologies and some software solutions for grid management that we think could be really innovative if we can pull it all together. So yeah, we're really looking for partners who can help us bring this to life and maybe help us navigate some of the regulatory and technical challenges. So, what do you think?"

Conversely compared to Mwangi’s excellent concise pitch, James neglects the concise approach, often finding himself tangled in lengthy explanations of his renewable energy startup. Despite its potential, listeners struggle to find clarity and excitement in his presentations, resulting in missed opportunities and lukewarm interest. Investors passed on his opportunity and funded Mwangi.

Research by Carmine Gallo sheds light on why Mwangi succeeds where James struggles. Drawing from the high-stakes world of Hollywood, the researcher identifies the 'logline', essentially a one or two-sentence pitch, as critical to capturing interest. Just as movie producers decide within the first 45 seconds, business leaders and investors also gauge the viability of a proposition based on its initial presentation.

Our brains’ evolution journey and surviving in the bush in ancient times highlights humanity’s focus on making decisions quickly, even when more nuanced lengthy decision-making processes should be utilised. Due to our inherited assessment behaviour, the logline approach becomes even more critical not only because it communicates the core of an idea but also ignites curiosity and engagement, elements that James’ verbose pitches sorely lack.

The study underscores the necessity of a logline in business communication. It stresses three pivotal steps to crafting a persuasive logline. First, keeping it succinct, focusing on one memorable takeaway, and ensuring alignment within the team. Such elements make the information not just digestible but also resonant with the audience’s needs and challenges.

Mwangi’s logline, “Transforming small-scale farming with accessible, data-driven insights,” perfectly encapsulates these principles, offering a clear, impactful, and memorable overview of his business.

Examples of effective loglines abound in successful enterprises. A tech startup might use, “Revolutionising healthcare with portable, AI-powered diagnostic devices,” capturing both the innovation and the direct benefit of their product. Another might be a local bakery that pitches itself as, “Bringing the warmth of homemade to the heart of the community,” instantly creating a vivid image of the business’s value proposition. These loglines succeed because they are concise, make a memorable impact, and clearly align with what the audience values.

In contrast, ineffective pitches often meander through details and technicalities, losing the listener's interest and failing to communicate the core value proposition.

Entrepreneurs like James could benefit significantly from adopting the study’s approach, focusing on refining their message to meet the critical criteria of clarity and engagement. Practicing and perfecting the logline could transform their interactions from overlooked to standout.

Essentially, the power of a well-crafted logline extends far beyond the elevator pitch, influencing perceptions, engagements, and ultimately, the success of an idea or enterprise. Entrepreneurs and leaders must recognise the importance of distilling their complex visions into simple, powerful messages that resonate with their audiences.

Mastering the art of the pitch can make the difference between a forgotten idea and a thriving venture.

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