In the past 18 months, I’ve taught more than 60 classes and workshops for General Assembly covering social media, Google Analytics, WordPress blogging, digital marketing, marketing technology, and various other topics. One of the questions I get asked at the beginning of most of these sessions is, “Do I need my computer?”
There are 2 reasons that attendees ask this question. First, will they need their computer to actually complete any specific tasks? Second, will they need their computer to take notes? The first one is easy. The second question is a personal preference, but that preference comes with some science. If you take notes by typing, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage, because when you write something down, you remember it better.
The same type of science applies to when you are creating something new. Writing down your goals makes them “real”. Writing someone a personal “Thank You” note really ups your relationship game. Writing down your tasks enables you to check them off one by one, bringing a Dave Ramsey-esque sense of accomplishment. Also, when you see a word written down, that sight evokes new thoughts about that word, its meaning to you, and its context. Finally, when you write something down, the very act of writing it down seals it in your memory 7X better than seeing it, hearing it, or typing it.
And, as you’ve probably guessed by now, the first step towards creating a great pitch for your business or startup is to write it down. Specifically, write down the following points:
- What is the problem your organization is solving?
- What is your solution to this problem?
- Who is your most ideal customer?
- What do you need to succeed in solving the problem?
It’s vitally important for you, the founder & leader, to know and understand each of these points each in its most intimate detail. How else will you impart this knowledge to employee #1 or employee #100? It’s your torch to carry, and you are the one who will communicate these answer to anyone and everyone.
An additional step that I find very helpful for this exercise is to answer each question in the form of, or at least in the length of, a tweet: 140 characters only. Einstein said, “If you cannot explain it simply, you do not understand it well enough.” I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Einstein. You should be able to explain what you do to a 5-year-old and your grandmother at the same time, and have both of them generally “get it.”
That requires brevity and simplicity. It’s not easy, but that’s why we practice, and practice starts the first time you write it down.
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