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Friday
Jan092015

I Wish....

Lately I’ve become something of an expert on Disney animated films, not because of any conscious choice on my part, but simply because I have a two-year-old daughter who has fallen hard for the whole Disney princess craze.  So in the past few months I’ve seen several of the Disney movies more times than the most dedicated film student has pored over Citizen Kane or The Seven Samurai.  Due to this intense study I’ve begun to notice certain common features in the films.  One feature found in most of the films is the “I Wish” song, typically sung by the heroine as the second musical number, in which she tells the world exactly what it is she wants from life.  Think of Ariel in The Little Mermaid singing “Wish I could be/Part of your world,” or Belle in Beauty & The Beast singing “I want much more than this provincial life/I want adventure in the great wide somewhere,” or even Snow White singing “Some day my prince will come.”  Of course, the “I Wish” song isn’t limited to Disney films, as it also appears in classic stage musicals such as My Fair Lady (“All I want is a room somewhere”).  The “I Wish” song tells the audience who the heroine is, and by clearly establishing what she wants, it sets up the rest of the action as she struggles but ultimately achieves her goal.

While I don’t recommend bursting into song during business meetings (unless you are a really good singer), you can learn something from the Disney heroines who tell the world exactly what they want.  The business equivalent of the “I Wish” song is the 30-second elevator speech.  The elevator speech is usually thought of as a condensed, memorable pitch for a new business idea or product, prepared and honed for that brief, make-or-break moment when an entrepreneur has the ear of a venture capitalist.  But an elevator or “I Wish” speech can be a much more versatile tool than that, and can help you in your business or personal life no matter what your situation.

Always have an “I Wish” speech prepared to tell others what you are seeking

You always want something that you need contacts to help you find, and you are always meeting new people, or getting reacquainted with people, in a variety of business and social contexts.  Having an “I Wish” speech allows you to easily and naturally draw on all those people (and all the people they know) to help you find what you want.  Whenever someone asks “And what do you do?” or “What have you been up to?” or even “Who are you?” you can use your “I Wish” speech to answer their question in a way that also lets them know what you are looking for, without sounding like a sales pitch.

Sometimes it’s easy to know what should go into your “I Wish” speech.  You may be an entrepreneur looking for funding. You may be looking for a new job.  You may be a consultant looking for new clients.  But an “I Wish” speech can be used for many other things.  Some of my clients have used “I Wish” speeches to get an introduction to a particular CEO, to find a mentor, or to find a good dry cleaner.  If you have an unpublished novel or screenplay in your drawer, perhaps your speech should be about your search for an agent.  Or maybe you need a good web designer for your business, or a reliable plumber.

The first step is decide what it is you wish for – your most pressing current need that someone else can help you with – and then figure out how to talk about it naturally in a casual conversation.  The next step is not to sing about your wish on some deserted meadow like a heroine in a Disney movie, but to tell it to as many people as you can.  Next month I will talk more about how to craft your “I Wish” speech and how and when to use it.

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