The Future of the Company Is Hanging on This, You’ve Got Three Minutes to Win Them Over Matt …

Matt, A Man of Few Words at the Best Of Time, Was At a Total Loss of Words on Hearing This.

Photo by Alex Litvin on Unsplash

Have There Been Times in Your WorkLife When You’ve Had to Pitch Yourself or Your Ideas, When There Was a Lot Riding on It, Maybe It Was in an Interview, or Presentation, or You Had to Sell Your Idea to Your Team, Your Board or an Investor …

Everything Is Riding On This … We’re Relying On You … people’s stories of when they had to deliver the pitch of their life, when their WorkLives and their future depended on it. When the stakes were high, and there was a lot to win or to lose …

The Future Of The Company Is Hanging On This, You’ve Got Three Minutes To Win Them Over Matt …

Matt, a man of few words at the best of time, was at a total loss of words on hearing this.

But let’s back up a little to Matt’s Story: Everything Is Riding On This … We’re Relying On You Case Study:

Matt worked in accounting at an advertising agency. In the last year, he had somehow gone from reluctant speaker to the key speaker at this sales pitch.

Through a process of self-coaching, self-directing and self-leadership he had transformed his presentations from boring snoring to interesting and engaging. This was no mean feat considering his subject matter was numbers, doubled with the fact that Matt had begun from a place where people’s eyes would glaze over, followed by the earliest possible exits as soon as he began his presentation. He had gone from being invisible to suddenly being in the spotlight — or rather about to be under the spotlight!


Being an accountant Matt was quite a logical thinker. He was also quite wise, and so he turned to his inner sage for wisdom, posing the question: What do I need to know and what do I need to do in this situation?

The self-feedback that came to him was:

  • I need to create the experience in people’s minds of the experience I’m trying to share;
  • I need them to know why it matters;
  • I need them to know the powerful impact this can have.


Although Matt was a man of few words, he did have a love of words, and a passion for reading. Books were his go-to place when he needed stimulation for his ideas, his thinking and his challenges. Matt’s search for the book to help him in this situation brought him to: Ted Talks by Chris Anderson.

The guidance he received was:

  • When tackling tough topics, the structure of these is typically to lay out a series of facts that illustrate how awful a situation is and why something must be done to fix it — that can be emotionally exhausting — route around that — first step is to think of your talk not as being about an issue, but about an idea;
  • an issue-based talk leads with morality, an idea-based talk leads with curiosity;
  • an issue exposes a problem, an idea proposes a solution;
  • an issue says isn’t this terrible, an idea says isn’t this interesting;
  • it’s much easier to pull in an audience by framing the talk as an attempt to solve an intriguing idea, rather than as a plea for them to care. The first feels like a gift is being offered the second feels like an ask.

This is Matt’s Pitch:

“There’s an old myth about Picasso sitting at a cafe in Paris when a woman recognised him and asked him if he would draw up a quick piece on a napkin for her. Humouring her, he agreed.

“That would be $1 million,” he told her, once he was done. Confused and taken aback, she pointed out that it had taken him only 30 seconds to draw. He responded: “No, my dear woman, you are mistaken. It took me 30 years to draw that in 30 seconds.”

Imagine, if you will, hanging out in a cafe where the world’s most accomplished people converge, influential artists, thought leaders, experts in their fields. I’d like you to picture it in your mind, as you sit over coffee observing, watching the masters at work. As they converse, you capture their wisdom, through the knowledge they’re sharing, the stories they’re telling of their work-life experiences, the skills they’re teaching — learnt through years of blood, sweat, and maybe even tears. You watch 30-second demonstrations of work that has taken 30 years to master.

Now imagine, if you will, a gift. I’d like you to picture it in your mind, it’s quite abstract. So, envision what it looks like all wrapped up. But before I show you what’s inside, I will tell you, it’s the gift that has the power to do incredible things for everyone who opens it. It’s the gift that has the power to challenge, inspire and motivate. It’s the gift that has the power to bring new meaning to life, and to change lives.

You see, this is the gift of knowledge, the gift of the most brilliant of minds coming together.

Why? Because these brilliant people believe in the power of the gift of knowledge. They believe in the power of knowledge sharing. They believe in the potential of this gift, the potential to reach millions of people throughout the cafes of the world.

By now I know you’re dying to know where these cafes are, and is there a waiting list to get in? And how much does it cost people to drink coffee at such elite establishments?

The Answer:

These cafes are wherever people want them to be:

Their own homes, their workplaces, their local cafes, or a cafe in Paris, indeed a cafe from wherever they are in the world.

You see, the power of technology is bringing these brilliant people together to a cafe in cyberspace. A cafe where people can go, at any time, when they want to hang out in a place where the world’s most accomplished people converge.

And is there a waiting list?

No, there’s no waiting list, instead, there’s a membership that allows people access to this elite establishment.

And the cost to people?

£15 monthly membership — much less than the cost of a coffee a day.

How much will it cost you?

The seed-capital investment we need to bring this cafe to millions of people is £250,000.

And that’s an incredible deal. Why? Because this is the gift that keeps on giving.

What do you get in return?

20% share in this venture, together with the sense of accomplishment that comes from enabling the greatest gift that exists, to be shared. The gift of knowledge.

Thank you.”


Matt’s pitch was good enough to pique people’s interest. There were questions, which he and the rest of his team answered. Offers were made, which led to discussions and negotiations, which resulted in the partnership the company needed being formed, to ultimately bring their idea to life, and to the lives of people in cafes throughout the world.


When presenting an idea, flesh out each point with real examples, stories and facts. This is how ideas that you cherish can be built in someone else’s mind.

This story has been adapted from Matt’s origin story: His Journey To and his Discovery of his Ability to Self Coach, Direct and Lead from chapter 12 of my book: Your WorkLife Your Way.

Today’s Featured Book is: Ted Talks.

WorkLife Book Wisdom Stories:

The intention of the stories I share is to inspire you through people’s stories of their worklife experiences. Through these stories, you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles, failures and successes they encountered along the road of their worklife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their worklife with passion, purpose and pride.

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your worklife Story.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.