How to Pitch Your Idea, Pixar-style

I recently read Daniel H Pink’s book ‘To Sell is Human’. It was written in 2013, but I’ve only just discovered it. One of the many things I really enjoyed about the book is the section on how to pitch ideas. It’s something we all have to do, no matter what our role, so it’s important that we master how to do it well.

One of the techniques he outlined was the approach developed by Pixar Animations, which is a way of encapsulating your pitch into 6 sentences. I guess it’s a version of the short, sharp Elevator Pitch, but instead uses the time-honoured principles of the classic three act storytelling structure - beginning, middle and end. This is the format.

Once upon a time,_______________________________________________________________

Every day, _____________________________________________________________________

One day, ______________________________________________________________________

Because of that, _________________________________________________________________

Because of that, _________________________________________________________________

Until finally, ___________________________________________________________________

The illustrative example below is from Finding Nemo

Once upon a time, there was a widowed fish named Marlin who was extremely protective of his only son, Nemo.

Every day, Marlin warned Nemo of the ocean’s dangers and implored him not to swim far away.

One day, in an act of defiance, Nemo ignores his father’s warnings and swims into the open water.

Because of that, he is captured by a diver and ends up as a pet in the fish tank of a dentist in Sydney.

Because of that, Marlin sets off on a journey to recover Nemo, enlisting the help of other sea creatures along the way.

Until finally Marlin and Nemo find each other, reunite, and learn that love depends on trust.

What I love about this framework is that it’s intuitive, powerful and flexible. It can be used in all kinds of scenarios - explaining a new marketing campaign, the impact of a new product innovation, why someone should hire you, how a consumer insight works

I’ve tried it out a few times during training sessions and it really works. Why not give it a go yourself?