Bob Gill has a new book called “Bob Gill, So Far”. This is book is now on my immediate ‘to-buy’ list – he’s managed to capture several absolutely essential ideas – ideas that I sometimes suspected – in a simple concept that is unforgettable.
First PROTIP: when you get a job, purge yourself of any preconceptions you have about it. In the words of Bob:
Research the subject as if you know nothing about it. Don’t look for inspiration in design books. Don’t sit at your computer, waiting for lightening to strike.
You need to find something interesting about it, something that no one has noticed.
Second PROTIP: Although it would be great to be constantly given interesting problems, just about everything you will be given will be boring problems. You need to redefine it as an interesting problem (see the first PROTIP).
Third PROTIP: There’s no such thing as a bad cliché. Clichés may no longer be interesting due to their common usage, but if they can be used in original ways, they can still be effective.
Forth PROPTIP: straight from Bob:
Take a statement like: We cure cancer for a nickel. It isn’t necessary to make the words look interesting. They areinteresting. If you try to make an interesting statement look interesting, the look competes with the words.
Fifth PROTIP: Use images to make boring words interesting.
For me, even though this talks about design challenges, the skill in communicating an idea actually transcends many different skillsets. I think it would be tremendously valuable to be able to use this as part of a sales pitch.
As discussed previously, an effective pitch tells the audience something they don’t know. If they’ve heard a bunch of people telling them the same things, you need to stand out. They probably don’t think that their particular project is particularly interesting, and doesn’t need an innovative solution. But by turning their boring problem into an interesting problem, you can make your business case stand out.
This is particularly useful for pitching a project that wasn’t solicited. If you have an idea for an improvement or a new feature, then the problem needs to be interesting. Communicating this in an effective manner is the key to getting funding.
So that’s my personal challenge. The next time I have an idea that I’m trying to get people interested in, there will be work put into making the idea sound as interesting as possible. It’s going to be more than just boring words.