• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Stop wasting time looking for files and revisions. Connect your Gmail, DriveDropbox, and Slack accounts and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio will automatically organize all your file attachments. Learn more and claim your free account.


Big Idea Resources - Selling a Vision

Page history last edited by samuel olson 10 years, 6 months ago

Selling a Vision

Crafting your vision, getting others on board


Summary: In this section we’ll give you some pointers and some simple reflective activities to help you prepare to present your Big Idea. 


Insights from The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs*


As you prepare to present your Big Idea, whether you’re writing a letter or delivering a speech, you might take a cue from Steve Jobs.  His famously engaging presentation style follows Aristotle’s classic five-point plan to create a persuasive argument:

1. Deliver a story or statement that arouses the audience’s interest.

2. Pose a problem or question that has to be solved or answered.

3. Offer a solution to the problem you raised.

4. Describe specific benefits for adopting the course of action set forth in your solution

5. State a call to action.  For Steve, it’s as simple as saying, “Now go out and buy one!” 

    For you this may look more like, “Now come and join me!”


The following are some really helpful pointers for presenting your Big Idea


First, Start on paper.


Whether you are preparing to present your Big Idea to a large group, in a casual conversation, or in a letter, begin by sketching your ideas on paper rather than a computer.  Many speechwriters recommend this practice, simply because it gives you more creative freedom in the initial stages.  Paper (or a white board) doesn’t force you to think linearly in the way PowerPoint or a word doc does.  This will also help you keep it simple and straightforward. 



A good way to test whether your idea is clear and to the point is whether you can sketch your vision on a napkin.  Go ahead and try this if you haven’t already: pull out a napkin (or a half sheet of blank paper) and draw a picture (include words if you like) that explains your Big Idea. 


Second, Why should they care?


As you craft your presentation, remember that it is not about you, it’s about your audience.  They will be asking one question: “Why should I care?”  Answer that question clearly (without jargon), immediately (in the first few sentences) and repeatedly (at least twice), and you will be able to get their attention from start to finish.  This is important if you are writing a letter or a speech.  If you don’t catch your readers’ attention in the first few sentences they will stop reading.  If you don’t catch your listeners’ attention in the first few moments they will stop listening.



Write a one-sentence vision statement for your Big Idea that answers the question of your audience, “Why should I care?”  (Try to keep it under 140 characters). 


Third, Share your passion.


Dig deep to find what you are most passionate about, and share that with your audience.  Here’s a hint: it’s probably not your Big Idea project, but it might be the dream of a better life that your Big Idea can help create.  That’s the vision you want to sell.  



Write out a personal passion statement.  In one sentence, write out why you are passionate about your Big Idea. 


Fourth, The magic number 3


As you plan your presentation, remember that three is the magic number.  Our brains can only hold a few things in active/short term memory.  Give your audience a break by keeping it to three simple points in a speech or conversation.  Similarly, if you are writing a letter you will want to keep things simple for your reader. 



Create a list of all the things you want your audience to know about your Big Idea.  Now categorize that list until you are left with only three major message points.  Under each of these three points add rhetorical devices to enhance the narrative: personal stories, facts, examples, analogies, metaphors, etc.


Fifth, Heroes and Villians


Your presentation should tell a story, and in most stories there is a hero and a villain.  In the story of your presentation you want to model your Big Idea as the Hero… but who is the villain?  It is a problem in need of a solution.  Begin your presentation by introducing this antagonist, but don't keep your audience guessing once you have identified the villian; reveal your Big Idea as the hero.  



Write a one-sentence description of the problem that your Big Idea will solve.  Think through the question: “Why do we need this Big Idea?” 


 If you follow these simple guidelines you should be well on your way to selling the vision of your Big Idea!   


<- Back to Big Idea Resource Center


* Carmine Gallo, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great In Front of Any Audience (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009)  


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.