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The Message Onion

I would have written a shorter blog post, but I didn’t have the time.

When it comes to effective communication less is more, which requires some work.

I use The Message Onion strategy to tell prospects everything about my business that my time – or their attention span – will allow.

When someone asks “What do you do?” I respond with only the seed of my message:

“I find successful people and turn them into recognized authorities.”

Just 10 words. Less than 3 seconds of pithy intrigue.

My objective is not to explain the totality of my business but rather to give a teasing glimpse which will prompt them to ask for more.

With each additional layer I give examples and ask questions to help me decide whether this person is a qualified prospect. This process also allows them to tell me exactly how I can best help them solve their problem, ie. sell them my service.

At some point they indicate that they have heard enough and are ready to move ahead with an engagement – or move away with haste. A productive result either way.

Here are the eight layers of your message onion:

  1. The Seed is your tagline or mission statement. One sentence max.
  2. Your Elevator Pitch describes your service and target market in 60 seconds.
  3. Your Spotlight Presentation is a five-minute networking breakfast talk.
  4. Your Shark Tank Speech is a ten-minute concentrated investor presentation
  5. Your TED Talk is 18-20 minutes which can be transcribed into a short Kindle.
  6. Your Keynote Presentation is 45-60 minutes of anecdotes & examples.
  7. Your Seminar is 3 hours of intense instruction with role play and activities.
  8. Your Boot Camp is 2 days with enough content create a hardcover book.

Every layer tells your same story, just in ever-more detail.