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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Making A Great Impression

impressions

It does not take long for someone to have an impression of you; maybe three seconds would do. To make a great first impression here are three critical factors.

  • Be on time — In today’s world of someone doing their own thing, punctuality is still important if you want to make a good first impression. Respecting your audiences’ time will always work in your favor.
  • Dress for Success — A great rule of thumb is to dress professionally at all times. Suit and tie or a well matched sport jacket shirt and tie. Yes I know about business casual. Unless you know that is appropriate, dress up, for you can always dress down by removing your tie or jacket. However, if you do not have it you cannot dress up.
  • Smile — It is the counter sign of Friendship – A sincere smile makes you friendly and the audience will respond in a positive way.

Openings…Give purpose and value

Speech openings

In most openings, speakers are trying to accomplish two goals.

The first goal is to state what is the main purpose of the speech. Depending on the length of your presentation, you may have several main points to this purpose. In your opening, a very concise explanation of your purpose is needed. As an extra benefit, this explanation of your purpose allows you to give a blueprint of your speech to your audience. This allows your audience to know where they are starting and where they will end.

When you explain your main purpose, this leads into your second goal. Your audience has to know that there is something of value in your speech in order for them to listen. No value means no need to pay attention. Every audience wants to know that when they leave they have gained something of value. Every speech has something of value,   it is our job as speakers to let our audience know what it is.

This is important, now just listen!

Listen Now

When you look at your audience, you must ask yourself, “What is important to them? What do they really need to know?” An audience will always be more concerned with what they want and need to know and not what you want to tell them.

It is a bit of our own ego that can cause us the most problems. We think that our content and methods are just what everyone needs. And the problem is that we just haven’t made it clear enough to everyone. We think if we just say it more powerfully or speak longer than everyone will understand.

This is where having advisors who will tell us what we need to hear and not what we want to hear are important. It is also important to be watching and listening to your audience reactions to help gauge how effective your message is.

Your audience always talks to you, you just have to listen!

The 3 T’s

  3 ts

One of the simplest ways for speakers to organize their speech involves the 3 T’s. Tell what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Tell them what you just told them.

In your opening you want to give your audience a roadmap of your speech. This beginning segment tells your audience what you are going to speak to them about. It need to be very concise, attention grabbing and gives the highlights.

The body of your speech is the meat and potatoes section. It contains your main points and the supporting sub-points. It is what your audience came to hear you speak on.

The conclusion is where you tie everything together. This is where you remind your audience what you have just told them. You need to have a call to action or powerful statement or leave them with something memorable.

Remember. Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Tell them what you told them.

 

The infamous Audience Analysis!

audience analysis

Whether you are speaking to a new group of business people or at your monthly business meeting, knowing what is important to your audience is extremely beneficial. This is why you need to do an audience analysis whether it is the first time or the 100th in front of your audience. Any audience analysis should always ask the 5 “W”s; who, what, where, when and why.
For example under why, you might want to answer the question: Why did they invite you to speak? Was it your expertise? Or was it your entertainment value? There is always a why. Knowing the why helps you the speaker to craft your presentation to answer this question. Digging deep into this question may lead you to understand what is really important. Many times speakers never ask themselves the why. They just assume the meeting planner decided out of the clear blue sky to put them on the meeting schedule.
Always start to analysis your audience!

What if?

Whatif

What if the projector stops working? Then what do I do? Many experienced speakers as they review their talk are constantly asking the “What If…Then” question. What if this happens, then what do I do or say?

To truly look confident in any situation, you must have a certain amount of pre-planning. The pre-planning can simply be asking yourself: what if this happens then what do I do? There are many aspects of a speech’s history that can go wrong. Everything from either your flight arrangements going to the venue or your post-speech events and everything in between.

We all have checklists for equipment supplies but do you have a checklist for the “What If…Then” scenarios? This is the perfect opportunity for you the “Speaker” to think and practice comeback lines to address any problem. You can practice these comebacks with friends to see if they make sense.

It may look very impromptu to your audience but you know the truth.