“Contrary to popular networking wisdom, regurgitating a memorized “elevator speech” all over a poor unsuspecting soul who happens to ask the dreaded “what do you do?” question, does not work to establish a true connection with another human being.” ~ Felicia Slattery
Felicia Slattery’s new book, “Kill the Elevator Speech” is about why those standard, memorized verbal vomits are so horribly wrong and what to do and say instead that will actually bring people together, help others understand who you are, and create the beginnings of a referral and professional relationship to go beyond the initial handshake and obligatory card swap. The reader will learn how to walk into any room, confidently knowing how to handle, answer and completely address the question “what do you do?” with ease and grace, while also making the person they are speaking to feel comfortable and connected.
A better question is, “How did you get started doing what you do?” Perhaps instead of talking about what you do, consider reframing your 30-second connection around what problem you can solve for your customers. Ask yourself, “What problem does my target audience have that I have a solution to?”, and incorporate the answer into your self introduction (30-second connection).
The “elevator pitch or speech” (I call it a 30-second connection), is especially good when you are at a networking meeting and are asked to stand and introduce yourself. Attending a large networking event and randomly rattling off your 30-second connection to everyone you see is not the right time or place. Hopefully you are going to networking meetings to actually meet people and make a connection that develops into a strong business connection.
There is a time and place for everything. I wouldn’t suggest that we should “kill” the “elevator pitch” altogether. Perhaps we should kill the word “pitch!” Stop selling and start connecting. Selling inhibits a relationship.
The purpose of crafting a 30-second connection is to help you be totally clear on your core identity and message. Clear in a way that could fit easily into the time it takes to go from one floor to the next in an elevator AND it should never be a pitch. A pitch has a negative connotation that rarely arouses the interest of the person you are talking to. It’s also rarely giving in an elevator. 😉 It’s also important to have an extended version of your branding message for when you know you’ll have some time to talk with someone who asks you what kind of business referrals you are seeking.
It must be a small message with a big impact; one that sells others on YOU and what problems your product or service can solve for others and not about your product or service alone. In other words, not a pitch for business. That’s selling. You cannot develop a relationship with someone if your agenda is to sell them – especially when first meeting them. The relationship must always comes first, and then perhaps the selling.
The “elevator speech” should never be a commercial about what you are selling. It’s an opportunity to tell people what you do and what kind of business referral you are looking for. When you take the pressure of selling out of the networking equation, you will notice that conversations will flow much easier and relationships bond faster.
Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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