If you have been involved in any organization or networking group, you’ve been asked to voice your 30-second commercial or elevator speech. Those critical few seconds determine what other people remember about you and if/how they refer your business.
I spent some time working with a small group of business leaders on their 30-second commercial. I was genuinely surprised at the look of panic on some people’s faces when asked to do a brief self-introduction.
It’s well documented that more people fear public speaking than death. Looking around the room, that was clear.
After everyone did a self-introduction, we discussed the disconnect between what one says and what people hear, and then further worked on the necessary precision for self-introductions.
Key elements of our discussion included these tips on what works and what doesn’t.
Start and end with your name, title, and company. Use your title, only if it clearly expresses what you do.
Avoid first person, singular or plural, whenever possible (I or we). Ideally you should be talking about your company, as a separate entity from yourself. If you run a micro-business of one, you can use first person.
Don’t give a laundry list of everything you do. If you are in a wedding networking situation, stay focused on weddings. If you are in a convention situation, focus on corporate and convention services. Pare it down even further by not listing all your possible upgrades. Concentrate on the services you provide most often (80/20 rule applies).
Define your market area, clearly. Each market has its own unique boundaries, bridges and natural divisions. If you have elected to work within a specific portion of a Greater Tibuktu, state it, clearly.
Smile! A purposeful smile puts warmth and authenticity into your voice. When one gives a deadpan delivery, the message comes across board and disinterested, as though your self-introduction is something you just-want-to-get-through.
Look people in the eye. Even in a short segment, one can engage two or three people directly, for connection. If it looks like your speaking to the light fixtures, a connection will not be there.
c-h-a-cakeWhy do people hire or refer you? If there is one standout comment you hear from client feedback, feature it (if you can fit it in). “Most often, customers ask for the Chocolate Heart Attack, made with 11 varieties of chocolate.” or “Venue managers say that our disc jockeys are well prepared and always work as team players on events.”
Rehearsed, but not memorized. Just like putting a fresh announcement on voice mail, your self-introduction should flow, with ease. As you wordsmith your 30-second commercial, put it in writing. When you see the words, it’s typically easier to cut away the fat. After you’ve trimmed it, rehearse until you are able to perform it off-the-cuff. If you’ve mastered the introduction, it should never be phrased exactly the same way, two times in a row. It will always sound fresh. If it sounds memorized, the words will lack sincerity.
Let me give you an example:
“I’m Andy Ebon, Wedding Marketing Authority; writer and publisher of The Wedding Marketing Blog-dot-com. I assist wedding industry businesses connect with the bride, more effectively through seminars and presentations and my blog, as well as business and marketing coaching. Andy Ebon, The Wedding Marketing Authority.”
“I’m Andy Ebon, Wedding Marketing Authority. I’m a public speaker, trainer, and educator of wedding industry businesses. I help wedding industry business connect with today’s bride through business and marketing coaching, as well as my blog, cleverly titled: The Wedding Marketing Blog -dot-com. Andy Ebon, The Wedding Marketing Authority.”
Is one better than the other? Not particularly.
When spoken, will it sound the same as when read? No it won’t. It’s essential to practice by speaking out loud. Some words that work together in print, don’t flow as well when spoken. Find the flow.
Why don’t you just say ‘The Wedding Marketing Blog?’ I have chosen an easy-to-remember blog address that I want people to remember, so the dot-com portion is part of its name. I also own Wedding Marketing Blog dot-com, so if someone drops The, it will still direct them to the site.
How can I judge my performance? Critiquing yourself is near impossible. It’s better to collaborate with a business peer. Listen to each other’s execution and give feedback about what you heard (understood) and what is not clear or is extraneous.
See what you can do to improve your 30-second commercial. If you find any tips, particularly helpful, please comment.
And remember, if you can’t clearly express what is you do, and who you serve, it’s not reasonable to expect other people to make exceptionally good referrals.