elevator speech

Three Presentations Entrepreneurs Must Master

speakingWhether you’re a solopreneur or an INC 5000 CEO on the fast track, your ability to present yourself, your company, and your value, will determine the trajectory of your business Here are three presentations every entrepreneur must master:

The Positioning Statement. At the simplest level, the positioning statement is your company’s brand message. What do you do, whom do you serve, and how does the customer benefit?   It must be clear, concise, compelling and convincing. Aim for 15 seconds or less. To be concise, write your positioning statement as a tweet. In order to be compelling and convincing you’ll need to talk outcomes, not features.  It should prompt the listener to say, “How do you do this?”

Here are some examples:

A sales trainer: “I work with sales companies who want to sell more in less time.”

An actress: “I work with savvy professionals to speak with the poise, passion and persuasive power of a Broadway actor."

A divorce mediator: “I help you get your life back.”

Use sensory language and evocative metaphors to create emotion. The brain ignores overused expressions as simply words. Brain scans, however, reveal that sensory metaphors like ‘silky voice' actually trigger the sensory cortex.  Hollywood producer, Peter Guber said that he lost a log of big deals in the beginning of his career because he gave investors “a lot of data but didn’t engage them emotionally”. So be expressive - descriptive - and tap into the listeners’ emotions.

Marketing with a Speech. If you’re not speaking to promote your business, you’re leaving money on the table. Public speaking is the most cost effective and yet underutilized form of marketing. Offering seminars and presentations to your target audience, allows you to show them how you can solve their problems and serve their needs. This is much less time consuming than scheduling one-on-one meetings. When the audience sees you in action, it’s like test driving a car. You build trust through your message and live performance.

To succeed with speak marketing, you’ll need to bone up on your platform skills. Poor presentation skills will foster a lack of trust. And don’t make it a sales pitch. The key to success is to engage the audience by giving them an experience. One sales manager taped a dollar bill under each chair. During his pitch to convince the sales team to sell more, he told them to reach under their seats. When they had the dollar bill in their hands he bellowed, “It just goes to show you there’s money to be made when you get off your butt.”

Provide value, offer a few tips, and challenge their thinking. Be sure to have a low entry call to action such as a free strategy session or a discounted product. The goal is to gather sales leads. The easiest way to capture business cards is to raffle off a prize.

Pitching for Dollars. At some point, a company will need funding in order to grow. To get investors to part with their money requires a compelling story. Facts tell, but stories sell. In telling the business story, the entrepreneur must convey passion and confidence. The presentation deck won’t sell itself. I once asked an investor how much weight he gave the presentation. He told me that a strong management team was most important but decided against funding one company because the CEO was a weak presenter. This made the investors lose confidence in the company. Make strong eye contact, eliminate /ums/, and speak with conviction.

The power of passion cannot be underplayed. Research shows a direct correlation between “perceived passion” and the likelihood of receiving funding from investors. A study by Chapman University published an experiment in the Journal of Business Venturing. Researchers asked angel investors to rate the passion and enthusiasm of the presenters while controlling for risk, revenue potential and market opportunity. Perceived passion came in third, outranking education, age, style, or start-up experience.

Another mistake is not knowing the audience. Angel investors are different from VCs. Understand their goals and do research to determine if they understand your industry. Remember to think from their point of view. Investors don’t care about your product. Tell them how they’ll make money. And be sure to get to the point. Investors have short attention spans. “They decide in 90 seconds if they are going to listen and decide in the first five minutes if it’s a NO”, according to Karen Rands, Founder of LAUNCH.fn. The ideal timing for a business pitch is 15-20 minutes.

By mastering these three entrepreneurial presentations, business owners will be able to take their companies to the next level and soar.

Your Message Has Value But Does It Have Impact?

  On Friday, Ford Saeks spoke to the New York City Chapter of National Speakers Association. He presented marketing tips and presentation tips for delivering a knockout elevator speech to an eager audience. He then asked for a volunteer and demonstrated how to create an elevator speech that has impact. The difference was dramatic. Public speakers and networkers get bogged down explaining the details of their services.

He cautioned, "It's not what you do it's what you offer." Ford, a business growth specialist and professional speaker, advised the audience of speakers to "Give away the WHY and sell the HOW TO." He believed that all marketing techniques work if you do it right.

One of the reasons a presentation doesn't have impact is because the writing isn't emotionally authentic. He reminded speakers to sell value. Ford's presentation was full of valuable tips. He held a contrarian view of marketing success. "You don't need money to make money," he countered. "Ideas make money. You need value to make money."

When writing presentation copy, Ford told speakers to list all the problems they solve and then write content related to problems they solve for their clients. The goal in presentations is to speak from the listener's point of reference. Then the message will not only have value but it will have impact.

Networking Presentations Are Not Just for Speaking

Speaking is the new competitive advantage. I wrote two blog posts about the importance of good public speaking skills when giving an elevator speech and talked about keeping it concise and compelling. I belong to two networking groups - Gotham Networking and Adrian's Virtual Network. Both groups have a listserv which I use often. Once a week, a member can promote their business by sending a written elevator speech to the listserv. Most of these presentation showcases get lost because they are:

  • too long
  • too confusing
  • too cluttered

Here's a recent written elevator speech by Michael Spadaro that is simple to understand and well formatted. Notice the use of numbers, bold, spacing, hyperlinks, and contact information.

How hard is it for growing businesses to find an IT partner that is not only competent, but also trustworthy, responsive, and a pleasure to work with?  It's hard- really hard.  Unless you're reading this e-mail.

In the interest of brevity, here's what we do:

1. We help business make smart IT decisions

2. We act FAST to solve day-to-day IT problems

3. We keep IT running smoothly ("like buttah")

Our clients are businesses (typically 5-50 employees) that:

1. Are Growing

2. Are Efficient

3. Value their Time

Our creds:

1. We've been doing this for 5 years, which means we've been doing it long enough to master our craft, but not so long that we're in danger of being out of touch.

2. Our customer service has been recognized by many as being among the best in the industry.

3. We've got an army of enthusiastic clients who are willing to speak on our behalf

Check out our website at http://www.helpwithasmile.com for more information including a rundown of our entire service offering, as well as case studies, staff bios, and more.

Michael Spadaro

Congratulations, Michael. You proved that good presentation skills are not just about speaking.

Save Speaking Time with Rhyme

Giving a good  elevator speech is an opportunity to make  you and your company shine. But how do you stand out from all the others? Good public speakers know how to use presentation techniques such as speaking in three's, repetition, and alliteration. But rhyme? Last week,  I attended a BNI networking meeting. It was a large group and the introductions were limited to 20 seconds. It's always a challenge to be able to create a concise message which is also compelling and memorable. There were a number of clever taglines. A massage therapist said: "I won't rub you the wrong way." An accountant offered, "We make your life less taxing." A green real estate company announced, "Green sockets put green in your pockets."

But the most memorable person was Frank  Passantino, the owner of Printech Business Systems in New York City.  He stood up and in a Brooklyn "God Father"- like accent he started to rap:

I'm the rhyming Italian printer -Frankie P If you don't use me - I may Break your knee. I'm only kidding - That stuff ain't true. But some day you may end up- In a vat of hot glue. So if you don't call me - When you print the next time . I may not hurt you -  But I'll kill you with rhyme

He ended with this tagline: "We'll make you a brochure your customers can't refuse."

While Kanye and Eminem don't have anything to worry about and Frankie P is not going to quit his day job, he did get attention and laughter from the group. And he made the 20 second time limit. To be a memorable speaker you need to capture attention. While most people drone on about how wonderful they are, speaking in rhyme is a fun way to toot your own horn without blowing it. As soon as you do something unexpected the audience pays attention.

What presentation techniques have you used to make an introduction more interesting?

Public Speaking: The Power of 7

7I just got back from a networking event.  Networking is a form of public speaking - it's your sales presentation.  If you're like me, you experience the speakers as unclear or they're so long-winded that you tune out.  In business, your elevator speech is the most important presentation.  Speakers who are unclear are leaving money on the table. So I decided to challenge myself to describe what I do in 7 words or less.  There's a magic to the number 7:  Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Seven Seals, Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, and Lucky Sevens.

Here's what I came up with: Reduce speaking anxiety and monetize your mouth.

After I sent this out to our listserve, a number of people commented about how much they loved it and how well it describes what I do as an executive speaking strategist.  So, I decided to offer the same challenge to people in my network.  Admittedly, it was difficult.  But I was proud of some of the responses that came in.  Here is a sampling:

What about you?  What do you do in seven words or less?  Let us know in the comments.

Is Confusion Bringing You To A Standstill?

Situation: Marjorie, an owner of a coaching practice, was feeling stuck. Her dilemma: she needed to bring in money by developing her own coaching clients. At the same time she was a facilitator for a small business think tank and was expected to recruit a certain number of members to coach. She also had recruiting responsibilities for a woman's organization for which she was paid an honorarium. If she didn't meet her quota for the think tank she wouldn't be able to continue. But if she devoted her primary efforts to it, she would continue to have cash flow problems.

Solution: It was clear that Marjorie was putting herself last. We talked about setting priorities and the importance of putting herself first. Marjorie came to realize that her first priority had to be her own business, the small business think tank would be second, and the women's group would come last because it didn't bring in much money. We developed a strategy for Marjorie to sell her coaching services as a priority and then up-sell the think tank membership as a means of ongoing group support. We then worked on an elevator speech to help her position that message.

Result: Marjorie is no longer confused and has a strategy that supports her best interests and will increase her cash flow from now on. She said, "This is the best coaching I've ever experienced."

The Elevator Speech: Your 60 Second Pitch

Have you ever been to a networking meeting, you hear the first person introduce himself and you turn to your friend and say, "What does he do?" If you're confused it's because people ramble on about themselves without much preparation or consideration for the audience. Nobody cares about your product or service. And nobody wants to listen to a sales pitch. Imagine you're in an elevator and you meet a perfect prospect. As the doors close you have 60 seconds to introduce yourself and attract their interest. How do you succinctly and clearly get your message across when you only have a minute? A good elevator pitch tells the listener what you do, how it benefits them, and the results they can expect.

To learn more watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30v47UsPuR0