Whether you are approaching potential funders, volunteers, staff or supporters you need to be able to clearly articulate your idea. When you are communicating your idea in conversation or written form, these tips will help you keep you audiences attention:
What, why and how
When you are telling people about your new idea you should focus on getting across:
- What your social enterprise does
- Why you do it
- How you do this
These key points can be backed up with proof points, e.g. figures that evidence need. Overtime your proof points should start to include your own impact data.
The what, why and how triangle should form the basis of all of your communications.
Use simple language
Lots of social entrepreneurs are incredibly knowledgeable about the social cause they are working to tackle. This knowledge often comes from personal experience and is a great foundation for practical action, but speaking in jargon and acronyms will confuse your audience. If people need to have the same background as you to understand what you are saying, how far is your message going to spread?
Your audience won’t necessarily have the same in-depth knowledge as you so be careful to avoid using acronyms and jargon.
Avoid information overload
Some social enterprises have a neat and tidy model; they sell something and use the net profit to create social impact, simple! However, it’s not that simple for everyone, especially those with service based social enterprises. Lots of social enterprises do many different things. Some run multiple small and local projects, others are consistently developing new ideas in response to the needs of beneficiaries. But when you only have your audience’s attention for a minute, you don’t have time to explain complex structures or how each project overlaps.
For the sake of clarity focus on your core competencies in your initial pitch. Aim to summarise what it is you are trying to do within a sentence or at most two.
If you send out a press release and you can’t explain what you do within two sentences an Editor will try to condense what you’ve written and there’s a good chance it will be lost in translation!
Give people something they can repeat
As a start-up gaining reputation via word of mouth is a cheap and accessible way of promoting yourself. Make it easy for people to advocate on your behalf and leave them with a short, snappy and memorable soundbite.
The same goes for the media. When looking for a case study to support a story, a journalist is going to choose someone they remember.
Highlight points of difference
To get your story over to the press or public you need a strong start.
- Is there a personal journey that adds relevance to what you are setting out to achieve as a social entrepreneur?
- Are you the first, best, biggest? Do you have a unique approach?
- Use your personality. Don’t be afraid to show emotion or excitement!
Practice, practice, practice
Once you are happy with communicating your core messages you will be prepared to promote yourself at a moments notice! It will become an area of conversation where you are on message, in control and happy. In time this will give you confidence to add anecdotes, introduce facts and figures, demonstrate relevance and exhibit passion.