Monday, May 02, 2011

My elevator speech on *your* elevator speech

If I were trapped in an elevator with you for a few floors and you asked me, "Quick--how do you come up with a great elevator speech?" I'd give you, well, my elevator speech on elevator speeches:
  • Offer the listener a three-course menu: Use the rule of three, which is easiest for both speaker and listener to recall. But think about it as a short menu of three courses, any one of which might prompt a question or more interaction. That's what you're after, right? So tell me three things designed to prompt questions and interest me.
  • Don't list all the ingredients: Assume you'll get questions, and leave things out. Your three points or "menu items" give your listener the headline, but the conversation that ensues is the real meat of the exchange. Saving up what you know for answering questions makes you look smart, too.
  • Serve up a memorable (if brief) meal: Keeping it short and in three parts helps keep it memorable. But to make it worth repeating later, plan ahead if you can to dress up your three points with an analogy, alliteration or a cultural reference. "I make big, bold, beautiful signs. They're as big as a 20-story building. They're boldly colored. And because I use cutting-edge artists, they're beautiful" is a simple example of using alliteration. You also could say "The signs I make are like the ones you see on the highway: They give clear direction, they tell you how to drive smarter, and they get you where you want to go."
Catch me in an elevator, and I'm ready with my three points. Will you be? This takes practice, but the time will be worth it. And remember: A great elevator speech is just an outline you can expand for short, long and longer presentations and speeches, and serves as an effective plan for your slides. Read more about public speaking and presenting tips on our sister blog, The Eloquent Woman. I'm available to help you or your team develop effective messages, short or long, and to learn excellent public speaking, presenting and media interview skills. Email me at info[at]dontgetcaught[dot]biz.

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