How we are trying to explain a complex idea without confusing an audience

Oct 29 2013

My team at the Reese News Lab has been working on a business model that provides incentives to consumer of digital news. In our model, advertisers exchange gift cards for ad space in lieu of traditional payment. These gift cards are allotted to users through a ranking platform based on their news engagement.

In the past four weeks, the incentive news team has instinctively found the way through the maze of our business model. We have explored the riddle of our users and their financial preferences, found that our advertisers will only meet us halfway, and faced the number-crunching of the model’s revenue cycle. Now that we have determined what we want our model to be, we’re struggling to translate that into a pitch.

That’s because sometimes, when we explain our model, it becomes a maze of numbers:

“So you have 30 views per day per user, which equates to 21,000 views of both member and nonmembers, which then means that you have to charge $2,450 per ad space, and then you end up with a $35 gift cards if you are a member.”

Did you lose me? Well, honestly, I lost myself. It’s a big challenge to explain our idea to an audience that has never heard of our project before.

This past week, we have been experimenting with the best way to communicate our ideas to our audience. We even created a directional map of different ways to explain this confusing concept.

Having gone through the process, here’s my advice to others figuring out how to translate complicated idea into a clear, simple pitch:

• Pitch the idea to your group; prove that you understand it before you present.
• Make guiding questions for your audience to ensure their full engagement in your idea.
• Create visuals to aid in understanding of the pitch.
• Bring a buddy along. You may need somebody to step in and rescue you if the pitch goes awry.
• Take notes after each pitch on how you could improve it.

Though the addition of guiding questions and visuals, we have found our direction out of the maze of pitching. The team has been using charts to catch the attention of many of our participants. Our audience is no longer aimlessly asking questions; they are actively participating in the product’s viability and feasibility. And that’s the clearest sign of a good pitch that we could get.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *