When networking probably one of the most hated exercises is standing up and giving your elevator pitch or commercial. Even when given guidance on what to say, we seem to mumble through a bunch of words that tend to go on, and on, and on. Trust me, I’ve been there, and you probably have to. On both sides, for that matter. Where the problem lies, other than just naturally being nervous, is we don’t know what to say and as a result we load up our pitch with filler. Even if we start out strong, by the time we are done we have lost our audience and everything we said went in one ear and out the other. You can usually sense this when the person you are speaking to glances at their watch, looks frantically for an exit door and abruptly says, “Gotta go!”
So how do we take the pain out of creating, and giving an elevator pitch that sounds natural and is memorable? Well, there are two fundamental principles that need to be applied. First, you need to create a Defining Statement. I learned this from a business coach named Mark LeBlanc (www.SmallBusinessSuccess.com). The defining statement is a one liner, a headline so to speak, of how you want to be remembered. It needs to be simple, conversational and most importantly, memorable. So how do you know if you have a good defining statement? Very simple, your audience will ask questions and that’s when the conversation begins. But you first need that captivating defining statement that entices them to want to learn more, and then you need to just shut up. I know, that sounds harsh but that’s half the problem for most people. Like I said before, when we don’t know what to say, we just ramble on and on. Give your defining statement, say it with confidence, and then let there be silence. Even if the defining statement isn’t all that compelling, the silence alone will drive your audience nuts and they will start asking questions just to break it.
The second fundamental principle to building your defining statement is to start with your WHY. Simon Sinek (a world renown inspirational leader) wrote “Start with WHY,” a book that essentially asks do you know your WHY, that is, the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you to do what you do. When meeting people, we have been programmed to follow the formula of this is WHAT I do, HOW I do it and WHY. Sinek, on the otherhand, challenges you to start with WHY we do what we do, HOW we do it, and then finish it up with the WHAT. This is powerful stuff but may be a bit overwhelming to absorb. If you want to be inspired and get the true essence of the WHY, watch the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0HIF3SfI4.
So how did I create my defining statement? I wrote out 500 iterations. I’m not kidding. I know, it’s just one line but it’s not easy. It may not take you that many times but once you get it, you will live it and breath it. It will become your brand and giving an elevator pitch will never again be a dreaded task. Are you up for the challenge?
Start with the WHY (thought leader Simon Sinek)
- Most People: WHAT – HOW – WHY
- Alternate Approach: WHY – HOW – WHAT
Below is a sample elevator pitch:
- Your name? Dan Aronoff
- WHY (this is your defining statement)
Ex. I’m a Franchise Matchmaker and I work with people who want to fulfill their dream of business ownership.
Tip: Create a memorable tag, which for me is franchise matchmaker.
I do this by taking people through a methodical process using a proprietary assessment tool and questionnaire, matching them up with franchises to research and then guiding them through the due diligence process.
Best of all the process is at no cost because I get compensated by the franchisor when I make a placement, much like an executive recruiter. Something to keep in mind is that there is more to franchising than French fries. We work with franchises in many industry categories with a total investment ranging from $50K to $300K.
Tips for your Defining Statement
- Be succinct
- Keep it simple
- Make it conversational
- Use the words “work with” and “want”
- Engaging (i.e. sparks conversation)
Dan Aronoff of FranNet