Opportunities to network and promote yourself can come up anywhere at any time – and often when you least expect it.
From the grocery store to the bank, school pick-up to business events, conferences and expos, you need to be ready for the question “So, what do you do?”, because how well you answer can mean the difference between gaining a lead, client, alliance or referral partner, and simply meeting an acquaintance.
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So how do you articulate what you do quickly and succinctly while grabbing attention?
Here are seven tips to help you craft a powerful elevator speech:
1. Know what you want
Before you write and deliver your elevator speech, first determine what you want to achieve by it as this will change your key message and call to action.
Do you want to generate new leads? Form an alliance? Develop referral partners? Connect with a specific contact?
2. Keep it short
Your elevator speech should be clear and concise and designed to give people a little taste of what you do to pique their interest. It should last no longer than 30-60 seconds, the average time it would take to ride in an elevator (not one where your kids have pushed all the buttons to every floor).
3. Make it targeted
The more targeted and personal you can make your pitch the greater success you will have. Wherever you find yourself networking, whether it is at a networking event, conference, the markets, a social networking group online or waiting in a queue, make sure your message is targeted to who you are talking to.
Think about their wants and needs, frustrations and challenges to make your message relevant. If you are unsure or want more specific information you could ask the event organisers, or if one-on-one ask some questions about them first.
4. Capture attention
You need to hook your audience and leave them hanging on your every word so they not only listen intently to your pitch but also continue to ask you questions about your products or services.
It might be a clever word play, an interesting fact or statistic, a client success story, mentioning a famous or prominent client, specific results you have achieved, a product demonstration or a well-targeted message that “hits home” because it is based on their own problems or challenges.
5. Call them to act
End your elevator speech with a call to action. Maybe it’s a free checklist, eBook or report, a competition or promotion you are running, a request for a specific contact, or what products or services you need in your business. The more enticing and value-driven you can make your call to action, the greater results you will have.
6. Practice makes perfect
Rehearse your elevator speech regularly so that when the opportunity comes, you can deliver it clearly and confidently.
7. Update and alternate
It’s important to keep your message fresh, especially if you are saying it regularly to the same people (which can happen at networking events). Keep it interesting by trialling messages with varied calls to action that are suitable for different audiences and situations.
Do you have any tips for giving a great elevator speech?