You know Joseph Campbell’s “Hero’s Journey” — the fabric of every good story. It is an incredibly powerful tool, not just for storytelling but also pitching and selling.
The challenge is — I often see entrepreneurs confuse who the hero in their story is…
In a nutshell the Hero’s journey goes something like this:
A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.
All too often entrepreneurs think that they are the hero and thus tell their story accordingly. The important wrinkle in the Hero’s Journey is that our hero encounters a guide, who helps him overcome his obstacles and move out of the dip. Think Luke Skywalker and Yoda. Luke might be the hero — but without Yoda he would have never learned how to use his powers.
When you tell a story, pitch your company or sell a product — make the audience the hero. Focus on what they need and want and become their guide. It is your job to empower your hero — not be the hero.
My dear friends Rustin Coburn and Josh Schmitz taught me this gem.
Want an example? Last week an entrepreneur asked me to help her work on her pitch. She started her pitch with a story about how she found the problem and what it means to her. Classic TED-style story telling. Alas — not ideal; as she spent the first 90 seconds solely talking about herself. We turned her pitch around and she started by involving the audience with a question and a statistic which directly relates the problem to pretty much everyone in the audience. Suddenly the audience was the hero and our entrepreneur the helpful guide, showing the hero (the audience) how to overcome this problem with her solution.
Why don’t you take your pitch or sales presentation this weekend and figure out how you can make your audience the hero?