Posts Tagged ‘elevator speeches’

Elevator Speeches: Demonstrate Your Ability to Solve Your Prospects’ Problems

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Does your elevator speech project your interest in your prospects and their needs?  Or does it project your interest in yourself?

During networking situations, your conversation partners may be wondering “What’s in this for me?”  Here are three basic steps to help you focus on what your prospects care about most – which should become what you care about most!

Step 1:

Identify the benefits that your products and services have for your listeners and their organizations.  It’s all about the benefits:

  1. Increasing profits
  2. Improving productivity
  3. Reducing the cost of doing business
  4. Enhancing their competitive edge

Mention the benefits that are of greatest interest to your listeners at that moment.

Step 2:

Edit your content to be as concise as possible – 30 seconds is a good length.  One way to hook listeners is to identify a problem that you can solve: a problem that makes them think,  “I have that problem, too, and I really want a solution!”

Step 3:

Use phrases that help you sound authentic and conversational:  language that is “mouth and ear friendly”:   easy for you to speak and easy for your listeners to hear and repeat.  Your elevator speech should be memorable.

To summarize:

  1. Focus on the benefits that your listeners care about most
  2. Mention a problem that you can solve: one that they want solved!
  3. Make it conversational, brief, and easy for listeners to repeat

Create an elevator speech that demonstrates your ability to address the needs of your prospects, and they will be interested!


Building Belief With Acting Objectives: Benefits for You

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

In my last few blogs, I have described the value of applying acting objectives when you prepare to speak for business.  Here are some additional benefits that you will experience when you use this technique.  Pursuing acting objectives

#1:  gives you laser-beam focus and simplifies the process, because it gives you just one thing to think about: what you are doing with your words as you speak

#2:  galvanizes your energy toward your listeners; it’s the quickest and most powerful way to project energy, commitment, passion, and poise.

#3:  provides a completely organic way to make your voice and physical demeanor support your content.  It turns your voice, body language, and content into one seamless, unified message.

When you are speaking in business conversation or making a presentation, this gives you maximum power and delivers to your listeners maximum impact.

Build Listener Belief by Creating Acting Objectives

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

You can build your credibility by building listener belief in the way that actors do:  Create and pursue acting objectives.  An acting objective is an action that lies underneath the words you speak; and ACTION that you take toward your listeners as you speak.  It is a specific, active verb; it expresses what you want to do to your listeners; what you want to make them feel or do.

Choose objectives that are personally appealing and  for you to pursue, so that you’ll be motivated and project energy.   There are three ingredients for an effective acting objective. Each objective should have the following qualities.  It should be

  1. a specific, active verb, Directed toward the listener
  2. personal and appropriate to the spoken message and the listener’s situation.
  3. truthful  (not necessarily actual, but  believable) 

Pursuing an objective gives you energy and focus as you speak, because it is a powerful action to take toward your listeners; a powerful action that lies underneath the words.  Listeners pay a lot of attention to the actions underneath the words you speak.

Here are some power verbs that might be useful at acting objectives (think, “I wish to __ my listeners”):  welcome them; stir their pride; impress them; honor them; warn them; make them laugh, etc.

Keep your acting objectives private; they should be your secrets.  The longer you keep a secret, the more power it holds for you.  You want your objective to have power of you; to have power to affect your delivery.  Keeping your acting objectives private will strengthen your motivation to speak and galvanize the commitment and passion in your voice and your gestures.

Actors write their acting objectives in the margin of the script, right next to the dialogue. Identifying power verbs as your acting objectives for each beat of your presentation will help you organize your ideas, internalize your message, and prepare you for the next step:  pursuing your acting objectives, as if you life depended on it!

Engage Listeners With the Power of the Pause (“Let Your Ideas Land”, Part 3)

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015


Would you like your business listeners to be drawn IN when you speak?  Would you like them to feel eager to hear what you’re going to say next?

If your answer is YES, you need the power of the pause.  Successful business speakers, like good actors, always consider pacing when they are going to speak.  The tempo of your spoken word has a strong impact on your listeners and directly influences their level of engagement and influences the way you are perceived.  Your pauses are key.

Even the smartest and best listeners need a moment to process a spoken idea.  When you listeners can see you, they need time to interpret meaning from a broad palette:  your visual delivery, as well as vocal delivery.  Your pauses can give them the time they need.

A University of Michigan study revealed that when speakers never paused, they had the lowest success rate in getting listeners to do what they wanted them to do.  And the great British actor, Sir John Gielgud, famously said that, when acting Shakespeare, the pauses are the most important moments of the speech!  He knew that pauses can be captivating.

Help your business listeners receive the full impact of your message by giving them the gift of time.  Pause briefly after each complete thought, to let it “land”.  Don’t be in a rush to go on to your next idea.  Another benefit of the pause is that it gives you time to get a reading on your listener’s understanding and engagement level.  During the pause, breathe deeply and maintain eye contact.

During the pause, your listeners will usually be wondering why you’ve paused and wondering what you’re going to say next.  So, your pauses increase listener curiosity and engagement level, and they make you more compelling.

Without the pauses, your listeners may feel overwhelmed by an unmanageable amount of input.  They may lose some of your meaning; they may even tune you out.

When you give your listeners time to process each thought, you are respecting their needs, communicating that your message has value, and drawing them IN.

Never underestimate the power of the pause!


Speaking of Networking: Give Before You Get

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

How often have you been to a networking event where attendees are talking at other people — talking only about themselves and trying to cram into the conversation as much as they can about their own business, achievements, and successes, etc?

Not only is this unpleasant for the listener, but it is actually counter-productive.

Why are you at the networking event?  To get business?  Make a sale?  Well, not really.  Your goal at networking events should be to begin conversations that lead to relationships.  If that does not happen, there will be no sales.  Period!  Because people buy from people they like.

The most important thing is to let the other person do the talking,  and to listen carefully for ways to help that person achieve his or her goals.   This may sound counter-intuitive, but it is the key to the entire process.  Your goal in networking should be to give before you get.  Giving before you get makes it much more likely that the other person will want to talk with you further (and that’s the best hope for business in the future).  Giving may include

  • Introductions
  • Business or personal suggestions
  • Information
  • Invitations
  • Volunteering to help with a civic organization or charity the other party feels strongly about or
  • A piece of free counsel on a subject of interest to your conversation partner

So, as you network, focus on building relationships:

  1. First: Ask questions to find out as much as possible about the other person.
  2. Take time to listen to your conversation partners.
  3. Offer something useful to each person you talk with.

Follow these steps, and you will be on your way to conversations that begin to build relationships that lead to sales.



Be Conversational and Authentic: Rehearse Your Elevator Speech

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Here is a strategy to help you rehearse the delivery of your elevator speech, to generate interest and begin conversations that lead to sales.

Rehearsal is very important for business speakers, just as it is for actors. Many people mistakenly believe that rehearsing makes you sound “canned” or phony. If that’s what happens when you rehearse, you need strategies for effective rehearsal.

When actors are speaking lines, their job is to make it sound as if they’re making it all up – right there on the spot. So, rehearsal is the preparation to appear completely spontaneous, conversational, and authentic.

Here is a very useful strategy that actors use to rehearse. It’s called “endowment. The task is to “endow” your listeners with qualities that will help you speak with them the way you speak with a friend in conversation.

Rehearse with the following three steps:

Step 1: Think of a person from your own life (past, present; male, female; any age) in whose presence you feel cared for, trusted, and respected.

Step 2: Use the power of imagination before you begin. Choose a spot on the wall to place your focus. In your mind’s eye, “see” that person, right there in front of you.

Step 3: Use what actors call the “magic if”. As you say your elevator speech aloud, speak as if you were in conversation with that person. Take the time to connect with your positive feelings about him or her and allow this emotional connection to impact your tone and demeanor.

The more often you rehearse with the technique of endowment, the easier it will be for you to appear conversational – with spontaneity and authenticity.

Follow these steps, and you will be on your way to delivering your elevator speech in a way that generates interest and begin conversations that lead to sales.