Archive for January, 2017

Elevator Speeches: Leave ‘Em Wanting More

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

During networking events, would you like to captivate your listeners when you introduce the value of your products and services?   You can create a compelling elevator speech with an old tip from the theater:   leave ‘em wanting more.

Shakespeare said, “Brevity is the soul of wit.”   Today, it’s obvious that attention spans have become shorter and shorter.  Business listeners are demanding that we be even more concise than ever before.  So, you have very little time to make your listeners interested.

For an effective elevator speech, the key is preparation.

Write your elevator speech the way you would speak it.  If you find it challenging to write a script that sounds like your natural speech, record yourself speaking about the value of your products and services.  Then, play back the recording, and write down what you hear.  This is an excellent way to begin the process and make your elevator speech sound conversational.

Once you have transcribed your content, review the sentences you’ve written.  Simplify.  Shorten them, wherever possible.  And remember that while we often write in complete sentences, spoken communication usually includes sentence fragments, simple phrases, and even one-word sentences.

Next, examine your content to be sure that it’s invitational in some way:  stimulating a need within the listeners to ask questions.  Don’t try to tell your whole story:  tell enough to create a desire for more information.  This will help generate future conversations, to build and strengthen relationships.

Be savvy.  Be brief.  And leave ‘em wanting more!

Project Authority by Reducing Your Filler Words

Monday, January 9th, 2017

During business conversations and presentations, would you like to reduce your filler words, to sound more authoritative and get buy-in faster?  You can do it with a technique that actors use when they are preparing to speak extemporaneously.

You already know that filler words (um, uh, so, well, like, you know) rarely add meaning and are usually just a distraction for your listeners.  And that they jeapardize your ability to project confidence and commitment.  Reducing your use of fillers will help you enhance your credibility and your leadership presence.  Borrow this practice technique that actors use:

Set a timer for increasing time periods of time, two or three minutes to start, and record yourself as you speak in extended sentences on a topic of your choice.  Choose a business topic that you know well, something you enjoy speaking about (but not your elevator speech or a sales pitch).

As you speak into the recorder, imagine that each word that comes from your mouth is connected to the next one, which is connected to the next one, and so on:  the way pearls are connected on a string of pearls.  When you feel the urge to use a filler

  • Stop yourself
  • Pause
  • Say the filler silently to yourself

When the timer rings, play back the recording and notice your fillers.  Then repeat the exercise, with new topics of your choice.

As you become comfortable with this exercise, increase the setting on the timer, perhaps starting at five or seven minutes.  Then, continue the practice until you can speak extemporaneously on new topics of your choice for fifteen or twenty minutes straight, without the use of fillers.

I guarantee:  when you practice this on a regular basis, you will find that, over time, you are decreasing the number of fillers that you use.  You will sound more confident and more authoritative.  And you’ll increase your ability to influence!