7 Easy Steps to Crafting An Epic Fail

7 Easy Steps to Crafting An Epic Fail

How-tos for crafting the perfect proposal are a dime a dozen. Inspired by SXSW CPO Hugh Forrest’s witty advice, Stout Magazine breaks down seven easy steps to crafting the perfect Epic Fail.

crafting an epic fail Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer SXSW photographed for Stout by Matt Lankes

Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer SXSW photographed for Stout by Matt Lankes

Every business idea eventually ends up as a proposal on someone’s desk, or being pitched in someone’s elevator. When it came to dispensing advice to entrants crafting their presentations for South by Southwest’s Panel-Picker, the festival’s Chief Programming Officer, Hugh Forrest, turned the usual “how-to” format on its head.

Here’s how Forrest says speaking hopefuls can create an epic fail when applying for a spot at SXSW – but his “guidance” applies to much more than just a festival’s panel selection process. When you’re crafting your next proposal, cover letter or application, keep our take on his tongue-in-cheek tips in mind.

Seven Easy Steps to “Epic Fail” Proposals:

1. Don’t follow the directions.
Either you can’t or you think you don’t have to. Neither is impressive.

2. Don’t proofread your submission.
Details, schmetails. Accuracy is overrated, right?

3. Make buzzword and jargon salad.
The word version of empty calories, with no substance and a bad aftertaste.

4. Provide no specifics.
Nothing like making your audience fill in the blanks. Hey – it’s easier to let them do the work for you.

5. Focus solely on yourself.
Because it’s all about you. What you want, what you need. Forget that win-win concept.

6. Write what everyone else is writing.
Everyone is always talking about wanting a clone anyway, right?

7. Ignore the deadline.
See “Don’t follow the directions”. ‘Nuff said.

Top Stout Takeaway: Craftmanship is about effort, for sure. But it’s also about accomplishment and follow-through. Craftsmen don’t try – they do, and they do it well. The good news is, with enough time and effort, you, too, can produce a masterpiece. So will the journey you create be bold, brave and determined – or a short-cut to mediocrity? The choice is up to you.

Want to read more from Hugh? Check out Stout Magazine’s “Stoutways” interview for more great takeaways.