Saturday morning, bright and early, I arrived at an NBC casting call for the popular game show, Deal or No Deal. It was 6 am and quite cool (about 39F) and the line had started to form the day before at noon. The line, according to local media, was just over one mile long. This was a little disheartening. But I brought a chair and some work to do. Magazines, notebooks and a Video iPod. Then at 6:15 am it started to rain. My work went away quite quickly. And then the wind picked up — and the people who showed up in shorts and flip flops realized their judgment errors.
I didn’t get much work done as I got to meet others in line as we dripped and shivered. We waited in line for 6 hours before getting inside to see the casting directors. It was warm! But then nerves set in and the shivering continued as we tried to guess what will happen. After about an hour wait inside, they broke us into groups of 10 and we were guided over to tables with casting personnel. They told us our instructions, “You have 20 seconds to tell me something interesting about you”. “Ok?” Then they pointed and said “Go ahead. You start”.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had to make a million dollar pitch before, but when you realize it all falls on a few seconds, it was sobering. And scary.
As followers of Christ, we have many opportunities to tell people about why we love Christ so much that we choose to live differently. And many times we only have a few seconds. You know — in the elevator. In a cab. Standing in line for coffee. The opportunities are endless. And the outcome isn’t worth a large sum of money — it’s priceless. What we say could mean the difference between life or death for someone. We’ve all heard the statement, “I don’t want to be a Christian, because I know this person who said that they’re a Christian and… (fill in the blank)”.
Do you know why you believe what you do? Do you know how to engage someone to a point that they’re interested to know more? How about your ministry or church? What’s your 20 seconds that sets you apart and makes you interesting? That’s what we marketing people call your “positioning”. It’s what sets you apart from the others. Not what they’ve heard over and over again. But the truly interesting motivation for them to hear (or want) more.
We need to be ready. The opportunities are everywhere.
So, tell me a little about yourself. You have 20 seconds. “Go ahead.”
P.S. By the way, there was about 5000 people who showed up for the casting call, it was narrowed down to about 1000. I must have said the right thing in the 20 seconds because I made it to the next level. We then had 40 seconds to impress another casting director. 200 made it through to the next level and I got there. Then, no time limit. Just answer “Why do you deserve to get on Deal or No Deal”. And I guess I didn’t answer the right way. So my day ended with, “Don’t worry, producers may still call you.”
After sharing your story with someone, how does the conversation end? Sobering and scary, right?!