Milo O. Frank, author of the book, “How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds of Less,” says:
“There are two clear and compelling reasons why 30 seconds is the ideal length of time in which to get your point across.
Attention Span ~ The second and more important reason why 30 seconds is the ideal length of time to get your point across is that even when a person has time to listen to you, their mind can accept only so much information in one steady flow. How long can you or anyone pay attention to what someone is saying without letting your mind wander off to sex, money, or the other good things in life?”
Radio and TV news also make use of the 30-second attention span. They call it a “sound bite.” They need you to make your point in 30 seconds of less. One TV producer said, “I’ve discovered that if you can’t say it in 30 seconds, you probably can’t say it at all. The 30-second message is always applicable, anytime and anywhere. It’s a basic tool. When you master it, it’ll become second nature to you.”
I no longer use the term, elevator “pitch.” Why? Because to pitch is to sell. Selling is a BIG “no-no” at a networking meeting or event. Your purpose is to cultivate long-lasting and mutually profitable relationships, not sell. It’s better to give your “elevator speech” or as I call it, your “30-second connection” without making it sound like an elevator pitch/speech. Practice saying it different ways so it doesn’t sound canned.
The purpose of a “30-second connection” at the beginning of a networking meeting or when someone asks what you do, is to help them learn more about your business and the type of business referrals that would be helpful to you. It must connect with your audience, describe your abilities, convey interest in your company, sell your brand to everyone listening and describe the kind of referrals that are best for you – all in 30 seconds or less.
“Be clear, to the point and make it memorable. While it can be good to be creative when writing your elevator speech, your 30-second connection is not the place to be so clever that people don’t have a clue what you’re talking about! It should be clear and to the point, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be boring! You can use humor, create a mental picture, and be energetic. Just don’t use hype, or exaggerate who you are and what you do.” ~ Rebecca Livermore
Before you create your 30-second connection, you must have clarity about your purpose in saying it, especially if you are in a business that is complicated and difficult to explain. The first thing to consider should be to find a way to explain your business in a way that people will easily understand in 30 seconds. What are the benefits – not the features – of your products or services? By communicating these aspects of your business to referral sources, they are learning more about how they can refer business to you.
Never try to disguise or hide behind what you do! Be proud of what you do. If you are in a business that had a tarnished reputation, create a way to describe it that will have people wanting to know more. For example, you sell used cars. Some might describe used car sales people as pushy, aggressive, dishonest or worse. If you do not fall into those categories, you have some work to do. Pre-owned is a word I would use. If you have a warranty or guarantee, talk about it. Light humor may work. Highlight benefits. It must ommunicate who “you” are. Always speak the truth and present your 30-second connection in a way that has others wanting to hear more about you and your business.
I believe that it’s a good idea to have several versions of your 30-second connection – at least two – for different occasions or at different times. Every 30-second connection isn’t for every person. That means you must set aside some time to privately go much deeper when it comes to understanding your ideal audience, their pain points, and how you’re going to meet those needs. It takes some work, but once you get comfortable with it, your 30-second connection means you’ll never again be tongue-tied when opportunity knocks.
“Whether you’re introducing yourself to an individual or to a group, you have the choice of how you deliver your message. People will judge not only the message, but the messenger as well. How you look, carry yourself, listen, and leave the conversation will affect what others do with the message you’ve delivered. The important thing to remember is to speak as if you’re addressing a single person, a good friend.” ~ Ivan Misner
The more you present your 30-second connection the easier it becomes. Write it down, and practice in front of a mirror or to your friends. If your friends don’t understand what you are saying, change it until they do.
Always stand when presenting your 30-second connection. AND if you really want people to pay attention to what you say, remember to speak up. Talk a little louder when speaking to a group of networkers. I’ve been to to many networking groups where they go around the room, everyone sitting, and speaking so low when they give their 30-second connection that they cannot be heard. That doesn’t do you or anyone else any good. STAND UP and SPEAK UP!
It’s important to get your point across in 30 seconds of less. In order for others to refer you, they must know exactly what you do – what product or service you provide or make, how and under what conditions you provide it, how well you do it, and in what ways you are better at what you do than your competitors. It may be time to re-do or re-shape your 30-second connection.
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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