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Ever ask someone what they do for a living, only to have them fumble for answers? I must confess that I fumbled for way too long after going into business. Not the best way to win over new prospects! It was quite a relief to learn the solution–something called an “Elevator Speech” (or pitch). I enjoyed contributing to the BUSINESS NEWS DAILY article “7 Steps to a Great Elevator Pitch”, where you will find some great tips to create the very best introduction!
Elevator speech is the term commonly used in reference to a business owner’s description of his or her company when meeting new people. The idea is that one should be able to tell a brand new acquaintance what he or she does in about 30 seconds —approximately the duration of a short elevator ride. Others recommend a pitch shorter than 10 seconds!
Why so Brief?
People like to buy from someone who is familiar—someone they like and trust. Few (if any) are looking to buy from a brand new acquaintance and most people feel ambushed when the new contact throws an unsolicited sales pitch. A long-winded pitch can be a huge turnoff and prevent would-be friends and customers from ever wanting to know you better.
Your best elevator speech:
· Is brief. It should be no longer than 30-seconds in length. (Some experts insist on less than 10 seconds!)
· Tells people what you do (what goods or services you provide, what problems you solve).
· Shows that you understand clients’ needs and help them achieve desired results.
· Describes with whom you work (your target audience).
· Describes the benefits clients experience as a result of working with you.
· Identifies what sets you apart from others in your industry.
Learn“7 Steps to a Great Elevator Pitch” and start crafting an effective elevator pitch now!
We’ve heard it a million times. “It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.” In fact, research has long shown that people pay far more attention to body language than the tone of a speaker’s voice and give even less attention to the words used.
Then there’s the face. For years, conventional wisdom held that you can tell a lot about a person just by looking into his or her eyes. But if a new study is any indication, even the face is trumped by body language. The study is creating a buzz from very technical research results published in current science publications to a more colorful description aired on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition.
Bottom line? When rehearsing that next speech it might pay to be very mindful of what happens from the neck down. By the way, if you have tips to minimize the “jitters” when speaking, let us know!
You have issued a great news release that includes a strong hook and clear call to action based on the outcomes you hope coverage of your conference will bring. When news outlets show up to capture your story your actions can either help to build great media relationships or make reporters reluctant to ever work with you again.
The way you greet and assist reporters can have a profound impact on the way your story is told. For example, I recently worked an event where a television reporter planned only to do a short voiceover. He instead delivered a full feature story, thanks in part to alert and responsive media coordinators. Another TV crew arrived at an event planning a full feature but had such difficulty tracking down an interview that they walked away with only a short voiceover.
Although there is never any guarantee as to how your story will be told, you want to be a positive influence in any way possible. You can foster a sense of appreciation that makes reporters glad they had the opportunity to work with you.
Help crews find their way around with ease. If badges are required for admission be sure to set up a pressroom near an entrance that news crews are most likely to use. That will enable them to quickly pick up credentials and helpful fact sheets or documents that provide background information for their reporting. You will also want to provide a guide who can easily help crews locate features of interest and individuals they wish to interview.
Make sure your media coordinators know what reporters need. It’s critical to ensure that anyone working with media on your behalf understands what it takes to assemble a story. The needs of a television journalist are very different from those of a radio interviewer or print journalist. Knowing the important elements for each will help crews produce great stories in time for publication.
Help reporters meet their deadlines. Be mindful that reporters, photographers and their support teams operate on tight deadline schedules. They have only a short window of time to capture your story and move on to the next assignment. News outlets have lots of story options on any given day. When they choose to cover yours, be sure to reciprocate with respect for their schedules. Deliver the quality story promised in the quickest possible manner.
Have a plan in place to help crews capture the interview, photo, video or audio they need quickly, whether they have pre-scheduled appointments or happen to drop in unannounced.
Focus on the story you promised. I have actually worked an event where individual members of the host organization had different agendas. Each openly tried to steer the news crew in different directions, which made for a very awkward experience. While your group may have a great multitude of stories to tell, reporters most often have a single story in mind. A reporter who is forced into the awkward position of repeatedly having to say “no” may well prefer not to respond the next time you call. Instead, use this time to help the crew meet its goals and deadlines.
What is your best tip to work with media onsite?
If you knew that meeting just one more person could drastically increase your income, would you step up your networking efforts? Well, that special kind of connection happens more often than you might think and you never know who will blossom next. It could be you. So it’s important to make networking a major part of your marketing plan.
I hope that you’ll find some inspiration in a networking success story from Guy Martin, co-owner of Las Vegas-based construction firm Martin-Harris. The company operates in multiple states and just a couple of years ago was already making hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. In the true spirit of entrepreneurial excellence, company officials kept networking to create new opportunities to grow. A couple of years ago, just one new connection led to an incredible leap forward. That single new relationship led them to a new revenue stream that now accounts for 80-percent (yes, 80%) of the company’s annual revenues!
Guy is just one of many mentors serving in the Clark County Business Development Education Program (CCBDEP), a small business capacity-building program in Southern Nevada. We were hearing Guy’s story as we sat comfortably in a beautiful facility provided by yet another mentor organization, Nevada State Bank (NSB). CCBDEP administrator Tom Akers had met bank representative Rosalee Hedrick while networking. They soon learned that they had common goals and the rest is history. This partnership is yielding great gains for dozens of small firms who now have access to the resources and expertise that the County, mentors and partners have to offer. I am very excited to be among the partners!
TIPS FOR BETTER NETWORKING
Remember, it’s not about overloading on business cards and trying to make a sale. It’s about building solid, long-term relationships. I remember feeling very excited several years ago when I met a potential client who expressed a desire to work with me. I must admit that I began to feel a little discouraged when the work did not materialize as quickly as I had envisioned. Then, about two years after our initial meeting and occasional conversations, I got a call out of the blue–the client was ready. We are now a couple of years into a great working relationship.
I’ve heard many networking experts recommend–and I agree– that the best way to start building a relationship is not by trying to make a sale, but rather to find out how you can be of service to your new contacts. Show genuine concern. Do you offer free newsletters, articles, CDs or other helpful tools that might prove helpful in meeting their needs? If so, making such tools available would be a good place to start. It is great a way for potential customers to sample your work, as they begin building confidence in your ability to help solve their problems and achieve their goals!
Schedule networking as a regular element of your marketing plan. Determine where you will network, when, why and how often. Crunched for time? Try starting with just a few hours per week in settings where many of your potential clients gather and build from there. Here’s wishing you networking success!
If you wish to use this article, feel free, as long as you make sure to include the following: Corporate communication consultant Juana Hart Akers delivers group workshops, coaching and consulting services in marketing, public relations, presentation skills and communicating change. To learn about services, programs and workshops, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 702-257-6646. To get your free pdf copy of Juana’s eBooklet “Before You Contact the Media” visit the J-Hart Communications website at http://www.jhart.tv .
1. Know your topic.
Assuming that you perform your job well, buy into your company’s mission and stay abreast of new trends and developments, you’ve already won half the battle. You know your business, care about it and have something valuable to offer listeners. This bit of knowledge can go a long way to boost your confidence and eliminate fears of failing.
2. Develop Strong Content.
A speaker can claim success when his or her message has enlightened or helped someone. Take ample preparation time to make sure everyone in the audience will be inspired and learn something new. Determine why you are giving the presentation and what you would like the outcome to be. This will help you determine the contents of your speech. Strengthen your talk with support information such as new research, important statistics (used sparingly and only to make a critical point) and industry projections.
3. Know your audience.
Who are you speaking to and what do they value? While it is important to keep your overall message consistent from one group to another, different audiences may care about your topic for entirely different reasons. Your job is to help ensure that the corporate mission is carried out in each presentation. You may not be able to make everyone happy all of the time. But by tailoring your message to acknowledge the needs and concerns of your audience you demonstrate that you genuinely care, which results in greater buy-in.
4. Present with poise, passion and energy.
There is nothing worse than being trapped in the captive audience of a monotonous speaker. Practice, practice, practice to ensure that you can deliver with ease. Maintain good voice control; use real life stories to illustrate your point; inject a little humor—maybe even a joke or two (if you’re not good at telling jokes, make sure you practice on a few friends to get the timing right); avoid distracting habits such as twiddling your thumbs, stalling phrases (“uh, um, you know”) and shifting from one foot to another.
The best way to ensure that you connect with your audience is to enjoy the ride yourself. Not because you get to be the center of attention, but because you have prepared well to make sure that no one leaves disappointed. When your delivery says you are confident, knowledgeable and determined to make a difference your listeners will follow your lead and absorb every word.
What’s your greatest challenge when it comes to speaking in front of a group?
National surveys have ranked the fear of public speaking as the number one fear among Americans. Some people are more afraid to speak in front of an audience than they are of dying. If you’re among this group, beware. The results can be costly. People are often denied employment or career advancement based on their inability to communicate effectively. Fortunately, taking action to improve your communication skills can help you avoid career setbacks and possibly make you a more valued voice in the C-suite.
If you’re a manager or HR professional, your job is to communicate in ways that bring cohesiveness to your team and facilitate productivity. You likely spend a lot of time communicating your company’s vision and mission to prospective employees, front line workers, partners, supervisors and the public. It is equally important to communicate effectively with top corporate executives in a manner that reinforces the value of the role you play in the financial success of your organization. Communicating well could earn you a seat at the table with top decision-makers.
If the thought of speaking to the public and higher-ups makes you nervous, you’re not alone. Researchers have identified several factors that may contribute to speakers’ anxiety, ranging from negative emotions to social conditioning and fear of rejection. Although no one can pinpoint the exact cause, one thing is certain. With a little work and a lot of practice, you can overcome your fears and learn how to win your audience every time. Coming tomorrow, FIVE TIPS TO MAKE EVERY PRESENTATION YOUR BEST.
Meanwhile, what speaking challenge would you most like to overcome?
Juana works with organizations and professionals seeking to communicate more effectively with employees, media, colleagues and the public to increase visibility, credibility, productivity and revenues. To learn about services, programs and workshops call 702-257-6646 or email email@example.com. To get your free pdf copy of Juana’s eBooklet Before You Contact the Media: 10 Questions to Answer visit the J-Hart Communications website at www.jhart.tv .