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The Making of a Minute – Behind the Scenes of MSNBC’s Your Business – Elevator Pitch by Emily McHugh

As a novice in TV land, it was quite an experience to glimpse into the world of network television on my recent visit to the epicenter of NBC TV – 30 Rockefeller Plaza, aka "30 Rock".

30 Rock

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BC Operations Center - NYC

It all began when I was invited to pitch my company Casauri in the Elevator Pitch segment of the Sunday morning show Your Business by producer Dawn Stackhouse. I met Dawn at a Make Mine a Million conference at American Express earlier this year in NY. She offered me the opportunity to appear on the show and we proceeded to prepare for – THE MINUTE – the Elevator Pitch is one minute but much ground needed to be covered in a conversational manner. My trusted outline for every presentation that I ever make is, as I was taught all the way back in high school – who, what, when, where, what, how, and why? First of all, I want to give major kudos to all television producers and all the people that work behind the scenes to make TV come to life. So many details are involved that it bears highlighting what it takes to produce a one minute segment.

One week before the show:

- Dawn and I review the content to be included in the pitch. I was no where near one minute, but the goal was to first confirm the content of the pitch, make sure the key points are covered, then narrow it down to one minute.

Emily and Dawn at MSNBC

Daddy John McHugh, Emily McHugh, Dawn Stackhouse, Brother Michael McHugh

Emily in NBC hallway with Dawn

- I spent some time watching previous pitches online to see how every one is positioned, learn from good pitches, avoid pitfalls, and gain some tips

- Select THE OUTFIT –  red was the color proposed that would look best on camera.  So get red outfit - check.

- Select THE PRODUCTS to show on air – well there were some constraints here, given that I could not show a bag that has any green in it and the bag had to be a solid color. So with that mandate, the following bags made it on air: Messenger Laptop Bag M1412 in Slate Blue (carried by Emily) – http://casauri.com/laptop_cases/messenger_laptop_bag_15inch.shtml; Envelope Small EV1412 in Balmy Orange with custom Mini logo (carried by John) http://casauri.com/laptop_cases/envelope_computer_case_small_12inch.shtml; and Travel Satchel TS98 in Slate Blue (carried by Erica) http://casauri.com/carry_on_luggage/travel_satchel.shtml. - The products that have patterns were put on display for the in between takes.

Day Before the show:

- Write out my “pitch” by hand and on my laptop for the 100th time

- Rehearsed for the show till midnight with my brother Michael who used the oven timer to keep me on track

- Prepared the samples and strategized over what needed to go where when

Day of the Show:

- Up at around 6am, and practicing with my tape recorder

- arrived at 30 Rockefeller Center with my Dad and brother at 10:30am

- hair and make up transformation with Michelle and Cindy

more makeup

Emily and Michelle

- got connected for sound by Luisa

- practice run through of pitch with Dawn

- met the other panelists and show participants: Host JJ Ramberg, John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing - http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/ ,  Erica Duignan-Minnihan of Minnihan Consulting (and fellow Columbia B-School Alumna!), and Eric Groves and Christopher Nahil of Constant Contact www.constantcontact.com (we're a customer) - they shared great advice. It's incredible all the technology that it takes to put "one minute" on the air - multi-colored cables everywhere, monitors galore - a veritable NASA!

Eric Groves, SVP Constant Contact, Emily, Christopher Nahil, Dir. PR Constant Contact

on set - show time


- The first thing you notice when you go on set is that it is all green! It is painted a neon-psychedelic green so that the "Elevator" can be superimposed when the show airs. That is why I could not show any bags that had green in it (which is most of our bags!) or wear green.

– Lights, camera, nerves....

on set at Your Business

full cast

- I was really a lot more nervous than I thought I would be because my throat was so tight and I had no idea of how the words were going to come out – so after a drink of water my throat settled. Also, I did some good yoga breathing, sending the air to the throat. Above all, pray without ceasing!

- We had a few false starts, shaked out the nerves a bit, and then we went straight through and miraculously enough everything that I had been practicing came out coherently – thank God!

– afterwards my Dad, brother Michael and I had lunch “rink-side” in the Café at Rockefeller Center.

lunch with Daddy and Michael

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It was such a cool experience, not only being at MSNBC, but meeting all the interesting people who produce and participate in the show.  Look forward to hearing from you all!  (Finally figured out how to put up my photos - thanks to Angela and Nicole!)  See you at the next post!

9 thoughts on “The Making of a Minute – Behind the Scenes of MSNBC’s Your Business – Elevator Pitch by Emily McHugh”

  • Barbara Zaccone

    Just watched your pitch and it was awesome. 10 Million. YIKES. I have bought two Casauri laptop bags and love them. I bought my first a few years ago passed it along to my college bound daughter and bought myself a new one. They really don't wear and just stay looking new as when you first bought them.

  • admin

    Thanks Barbara - I'm excited to hear that! We appreciate your support and glad to know the bags are treating both you and your daughter well. - Emily

  • allison

    You have been a great source of inspiration to me and my sis because we also have a business i'd say 10 million is fine..you have not because you ask not..no need to post, just know all things are possible with God, and don't let ANYone discourage you. No such things as being "realistic" with God, be wise, but you will always get what you need. Keep going..sorry I missed it this morning. Take care.

  • allison

    Very good pitch, I really like the laptop bags that have lots of color, with the dots those are very dynamic.

  • allison

    I saw it on the computer but not that live segment on MSNBC..red suit very striking choice..okay I'm finished now.

  • admin

    Thanks Allison for all your kind and encouraging words. I appreciate your taking the time to write to us. Yes, I agree, with God all things are indeed possible. All the best to you and your sister. - Emily

  • Carolyn Niemczyk

    I am so proud of you McHugh Women! Glad I met you when I did. I hope the new warehouse is working out as you had planned.

  • Erika

    Did being on the show help your sales or attract any investors?

  • admin

    well actually no investors per se - I don't think they were up at 7:30am Sunday morning - but the exposure has been helpful, plus it was a lot of fun to do!

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