Elevator Speech

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.

OMG! Where Have All the Good Networkers Gone?

There's a line from a Peter Paul and Mary song, Where Have All the Flowers Gone? that goes "When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?" Well, I want to know, "Where have all the good networkers gone?" In some instances I've started using Skype video as a first point of contact. The conversation starts out cordial. I usually ask the person to tell me about themselves and their business. It's rare that I'm asked that question first. We have a brief friendly interchange and may even discover something in common.

But then it happens. The SALES PITCH! I watched my own eyes glaze over on the Skype video as the person yammered on about the offer. I learned every component, compartment, and crevice of that product. There didn't seem to be much awareness of my state of ennui. No conversation-just a fast moving monologue like a getaway train.

Can you spell dialogue? Communication is a two way street.

Losing hope that it would finally come to an end, I used my media training skills and made a bridge statement to my business. More often than not, I'll have to use a "pattern interrupt" to bring them back into their bodies. It's as if they get lost in the verbal vomiting and forget that there's another person in the room. During one interchange I asked, "Just out of curiosity, what do you think I do?"

Bad networking pervades every venue. How many networking lunches have you attended where people drone on? The worst example was a guest who stood up and read a three page testimonial. Get me the gong! Here's the truth: less is more. People remember less the longer you speak.

Networking is not about speech-making. It's about building relationships. How can you do that if you only talk about yourself? Knowing I'm not alone in this experience, I asked my friend how she handles networking gone amuck. She confided that she now sets limits in her networking meetings. She tells people that she will meet on the condition that they don't talk about their products and services. She only wants to get to know them.

Networking, like public speaking, is a skill. And skills can be learned. Here are some tips to enhance your networking conversations and presentations:

Prepare. Go to the website and learn about the other person. Learn about their customers and alliances. They could be a source of referrals.

Be Curious. Get to know the other person as an individual and not as a business owner. There is hidden treasure you can mine when you learn about a person's life. Uncovering their interest in golf, could lead to an invitation to play and meet others at a country club.

Give to Give. Come from a place of helping without thinking of yourself. Ask how you can help them. Remember the rule of reciprocity. When you give to someone they will feel obligated to give back.

Less is More. To make your message sticky, explain what you do in a simple sound bite. I recently challenged my readers to give their elevator speech in 7 words or less. I invite you to take the challenge. Remember FDR's quote: "Be sincere, be brief, be seated."

Put in the Time. Nobody is going to refer a person they just met. Building trust takes time. Be willing to invest in relationship building. Stay in touch with phone calls, emails, and cards.

Don't Sell. Frequently, the person you meet is not going to be a direct buyer but their contacts could be a customer for you. The time to sell is when someone is interested in buying.

So where have all the good networkers gone? You'll  know them when you see them. I met a couple of good networkers last week. It was a real conversation- full of questions, comments, suggestions, energy, smiles, and real interest.

You won't hit it off with everybody but when you practice these six tips you'll maximize every conversation and build a strong network.





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.

Elevator Pitches Would Be Better if They Didn’t Make You Gag

Jeannette Paladino, author of the blog, Write Speak Sell, recently interviewed Business Coach for Introverts & Shy, Patricia Weber about elevator pitches. We're including her write-up as a guest blog post. Here's what she had to say:

Elevator pitches have gotten a bad rap because most aren’t very good.  Pat Weber, Business Coach for Introverts and Shy, is a business colleague I met on LinkedIn.  It turns out we both have strong opinions about what I prefer to call a brand statement — because it is supposed to communicate in about 30 seconds the “what’s in it for me?

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