Your Elevator Speech

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You’re waiting for the elevator and someone joins you. You strike up a conversation with light chatter, then the elevator arrives. You both enter and select floors: you’re going to three, your fellow rider is going to two. As the elevator door closes, you get the question, “What do you do?”

Fumbling for words, you start, “Well…I…”, and then the elevator door opens. Your fellow rider gets out, quickly, never to be seen again. Whatever hope you had for revenue generation with that person dies with the door closing. Before the realization of this communication failure sets in, the elevator door opens at your floor. Now, you must pick up the pieces and recover before your next encounter craters before you.

What could have prevented that experience? The answer is: Your Elevator Speech.

The Elevator Speech is a 6-12 word blast that conveys the essence of your mission to potential customers. Its intent is to produce the “Scooby Doo Effect”: where Scooby quickly turns his head and shouts, ”shoink?!” Once you have their attention, you have them on your side, and the ball is rolling.

Sayings like, “I’m a motivational speaker”, or “I build web sites” are not Elevator Speeches, although they do meet the word count criteria. But “I inspire people to climb mountains”, or “My students produce Award Winning Web Experiences” could be.

Examine where you are and why I should choose you over the hoard of people who claim they are who you are. Give me a reason to choose you. Give me that ”shoink?!” Moment. Start working on Your Elevator Speech NOW!

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The power of a mentor!

mentor

We have all been told that recording and evaluating your presentations is a powerful tool. I contend that having a mentor is more instructive and ultimately more beneficial.

A mentor will develop a relationship with you and get to know your style, habits and idiosyncrasies. They will know whether you are speaking from the heart or just play acting. A mentor will make suggestions that fits in with your style and speaking manner. Your mentor will push you to become better and better.

How do I find a mentor? One key factor is find someone who is better than you are. This person will be able to give you very detailed instructions. You may even have several mentors. One to work with your content. Another to help develop your style. You may have to work with several to find the right fit. Have patience!

A mentor maybe the best tool you will develop!

Words of advice for anyone!

Checklists

One bit of advice, most professional speakers remember and follow is to always think ahead. This should apply to any businessmen who speaks occasionally. Your only speech of the year is not a time to make a mistake in front of your company’s CEO.

If you develop a checklist for your speech, you can avoid potential problems. If done during a quiet time, this allows you the flexibility to concentrate on all your needs.

Another nugget of advice is to introduce yourself to any AV technician who may be running the audio and video segments of the program. Handing a 10 Starbucks gift card to each of your technicians before the meeting goes a long way to being remembered. As a result, if there is a problem, your technician might go out of their way to help you. People like being appreciated and will respond to anyone that is appreciative.

 

What does your Cyber Name convey?

image You never get a second chance to make a first impression.  When the time comes for that first impression, you take the time to be extra presentable and impressionable: clean clothes, fresh copies of handouts, research beforehand.

What first impression does your e-mail present; not the content, but the e-mail address itself? Is your address “yourname@yourpersonaldomainname”? Is it “yourname@ yourcompanyname” ? Or, is it “somecrypticglop@somefreee-mailsite”?

What goes to the right of the “@” speaks volumes about you, your profession and your success. “bob@bobwire.com” and “jane.doe@tiptopconsulting.net” convey a more professional and successful impression versus “ timx2465b@free.email”.

Free e-mail is great: it’s free! However, every time it’s used, that is what is conveyed. That’s fine if you are a student or need a personal account, which, again, is what your free e-mail account conveys. As a professional speaker broadening your horizons and clientele, you need something better. Get it. You get what you pay for.

Thinking 2 steps ahead!

2 steps

One great skill for all speakers is to always think 2 steps ahead. Actually, this is a valuable skill for anyone to practice in their own life. As a speaker, thinking ahead can keep you out of trouble and make speaking easier. For example, if you are going to speak at your company meeting, asking questions about the meeting, will help you think ahead. A question like, what is the size of the room? Or how many people are going to be there? Who are the participants and what is their main focus? Are you speaking before lunch and after lunch? One great tool to have is a checklist. We all know of checklists that help you remember things, such as your speech notes, special microphones or airplane tickets. However another type of checklist you can develop is one that will help you think ahead of any special circumstances or special problems. The more you can think ahead, the better you can plan for any unforeseen problems. This will make you a better speaker. Also if something does come up you will have more confidence in handing the problem.

 

Ah…the end of the year. So now what?

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Whether you are a professional speaker or a speaking professional, the end of the year is a great time for self-reflection. It is a good time to ask some hard questions of you. It is not necessary maybe to answer all of those questions but it should provoke some needed thought. Whether it is your content, your level of speaking skills or just the direction where you want to go in life, the more thinking and reviewing you do, the better you will become.  Reviewing your life makes you a more accomplished self-learner. I have always said that the more you learn about yourself the better you can become.

Many speakers make a habit of recording themselves when they speak. When you have a recording of your speech, you can analyze your mistakes.  This is what most people want to do. However, it is also important to look at the good points of your speaking. We sometimes are so caught up in our faults, we miss what is good. It is maybe more important for us to minimize our weakness and concentrate on strengthening our positive attributes.

So enjoy the coming end of the year and look forward to the beginning of the New Year!

self reflection

Working Local

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When you take your presentation on the road, you probably have a set schedule of what you do prior to show time.  But what about when your speaking gig is local?

Working local provides its own set of benefits but also drawbacks.

When I’m working out of town, my family knows they have to fend for themselves.  When I’m local, I’m still part of my family and my family expects me to be connected with them.

When you’re out of town, you’re focused on travel to the site, walking through the building and facilities where you’ll be delivering, and making last minute adjustments in your hotel room.  If you have Props or Lab exercises, you run through them in your hotel room the night before to make sure they produce the desired results.

When you’re local, what are you doing?  Are you giving proper attention to tomorrow’s presentation, or are you frittering away that time with the family?

Your prep time locally should not be different from your prep time on the road.  Some suggestions:

  1. Explain to your family what you are doing and why it is important. Remind your family of your vocation and why it’s important to them as well.
  2. Set aside a block of time each day that is “Your Time” at home for practice as well as program and business development.
  3. If possible, rehearse during the day when family is gone. Admittedly, this works better with a keynote than a training class.
  4. Use your family as your audience.  They will give you a new perspective on your material and you will have a new perspective of your family members.

Don’t cheat your local audience out of an exceptional presentation: give them the same preparation time you give to those on the road.  Your wallet will thank you.