In a Nutshell:
- Methods are handy and memorable tools that can help you improve.
- But they are not the only way to do things – “there are many ways to skin a cat”.
- Understand the thinking behind the method and experiment with your own variations and new approaches.
Since my last book review, I’ve been trying to find examples of pitches that follow Geoff Moore’s Idea Introduction Pattern:
“For [target customers] who are dissatisfied with [the current offerings in the market]. My idea/product is a [new idea or product category] that provides [key problem/solution features]. Unlike [the competing product], my idea/product is [describe key features].”
After hours of “googling” and “youtubing”, I still hadn’t found any presentations that could pass as examples. That’s when I realised that while good pitches may never follow the pattern to a T, they do tend to answer most – if not all – of the questions addressed by the pattern:
- Who is your product for?
- What’s their unsolved problem?
- How does your product solve their problem?
- How does your product beat the competition?
Do you have to follow the pattern? No. Do you have to answer the questions in that exact order? Not always. You might open your presentation with a demo, which may answer several questions simultaneously. The pattern/method simply gives you something to start with and adapt as necessary.
Don’t be a slave to a series of steps.
This got me thinking about other popular step-by-step methods for public speaking. The PREP method, for example, is a quick and easy way to structure an impromptu speech (or answer to a question):
- Point – make your point in a short, clear statement
- Reason – explain your rationale
- Example – show your point in action with a story, demo, etc.
- Point – summarise and reinforce your initial statement
Although I like these four steps, I think it’s often better to switch the middle two (more on that in another article). You could even skip straight to step 3, starting with an engaging and relevant story. If you do that, you may only need to state your point once. If your story is really illustrative and/or provocative, you may not need to state your point at all!
So you see, you can adapt the PREP method to the “PERP” method, the “ERP” method, the “EP” method, “E” method or whatever!
The PREP method has one distinct advantage: It’s memorable! I believe that’s the main reason writers and educators try so hard to package their wisdom into cool acronyms and step-by-step methods.
The whole picture may be grey, but it’s the black and white pictures that stick.