There is so much emphasis on the visual and the quick these days that one wonders if business is just a movie. There is action everywhere, but sometimes you’re just trying to find the script. The one with your part in it. The part that will lead to greater success.

Movies are based on screenplays. The techniques used can get you to where you want to go. Here are a few points to consider:

YOUR PART - movies always have a hero, a helper, a foe and a goal. Too often we try to make ourselves the hero of a business situation. A better approach is to make the customer or boss the hero. Your best part is as a valuable mentor helping the hero overcome the foe and get to the goal. It’s not what “I” can do, it’s getting to the “we” of what can be done.

ACTION - focus on action not description. The more we describe our talents and resources, the more we sound like the competition. Most quality competitors share the same abilities. Skip the description of the “cast of thousands” and instead help the hero visualize how their actions together with yours will win the day. 

WEAVE THE DREAM - you don’t get ahead by keeping the hero in the status quo. You have to help them visualize the risks and opportunities ahead. How overcoming those will create success. This approach creates the tension you need to change things and win. If you can get the hero to lean back in their chair and put their hands behind their head, you know you have opportunity ahead.

THE HERO - screenwriters do detail profiles on all of the key characters in a movie. Knowing as much as possible about the players in your business gives you tremendous advantages. A professional colleague of mine recently obtained a great new opportunity because of knowing as much about the selection committee members as they knew about her.

CAST AND CREW - the more people you convince of your plan, the more chances for success. No movie gets made without resources, people and the ability to organize them.

KEEP IT MOVING - encourage give and take in your presentation and work. Few wins are accomplished with you doing all the talking. Get the hero involved. Create an environment where you both are working together

SCENES - movies use unique transitions to keep the story moving forward. Choosing the right dialog and visual aides to do this is important. PowerPoints are good but often mind numbing. Often other simple techniques are better and separate you from the competition. Once I saw a small boat company secure a large ferry contract by taking a step ladder to the presentation. Showing the buyer how they could build the low profile ferry without need for larger equipment.

It’s too simple to say you will find success at the movies. However, the techniques used by screenwriters can separate you from the crowd. Enough separation to WIN!

David Young

Sources and Readings for this article include: 
“How to Write a Screenplay” by Lucy V. Hay
“20 Selling Techniques That Will Actually Improve How You Sell” by Tim Riesterer
“How to Write a Screenplay” by Mark Evan Schwartz