The days where one might have business meetings at a leisurely pace over dinner are numbered; it won’t be long before it’s as distant a memory as the three-martini lunch!
We just don’t have enough hours in the day anymore. It’s as if time has been compressed and all of us have to fit more and more into what seems to be less and less time. In a generation we’ve gone from meetings which could last hours to shorthand discussions over coffee as we walk through the halls of the office.
Necessity is of course the mother of invention and the need to communicate effectively with less time led to the elevator speech. If you’ve never heard of this before, don’t worry – it’s exactly what it sounds like. Imagine that you’re in the same elevator with a prospective client. You may have as little as 30 seconds, so you need to sell your audience on the merits of your idea fast.
Remember that everyone else is just as busy as you, so it has to be short and to the point. You’re going to find yourself needing an elevator speech time and again; there will be plenty of occasions in your future where if you don’t have one ready, you’ll miss opportunities.
An elevator speech has to hit the most important ideas right away. Let your audience know what your idea is and why it matters to them. You’ll ordinarily be giving these speeches on your first meeting with people, so save the less important details for later. Think of this as a telegram, not a magazine.
Your speech needs to be well rehearsed so that you can give it perfectly at any time. Practice with friends so you can make eye contact with your audience to keep their attention on what you’re saying. Your elevator speech needs to be professional and focused; rehearse giving your speech until it’s perfect.
You’ll more than likely need to adjust the speech depending on who you’re talking to at the time. Keep the important facts a constant, but be prepared to change things up as needed. You should be able to give your speech while thinking on your feet.
You should be prepared to explain your level of expertise in your industry, how your idea will benefit your audience directly (everyone likes to know what’s in it for them) and since it always bears repeating, facts. You wouldn’t necessarily trust someone you just met, would you? Have the facts on hand to allay any concerns your audience may have about your idea.
Finally, let’s talk about what shouldn’t be in your elevator speech – pressure. This speech isn’t about closing the deal. This speech is about getting your idea into the audience’s mind. Press them for an answer and you’ll come off as desperate; if your idea is a good one, your audience will see its merit once they think it over, right?
Be confident (or at least appear confident) and your elevator speech will be far more likely to yield results.
Want to learn more about creating a great offline (and online) image through networking and elevator speeches?
Then you should check out this month’s Penny Pinching Publicity.
This month’s theme is all about offline networking and as a member you’ll receive:
- an ebook to help you leverage offline networking
- a special teleclass and recording with Shannon Cherry on creating a killer elevator speech
- a special teleclass and recording with Felicia Slattery on creating your signature speech
- a fill-in the blank press release to promote yourself
- media contacts
- laser coaching
- and more
Visit http://www.PennyPinchingPublicity.com for more information.