Have you been looking in the mirror and practicing your 30-second commercial?
You know what I’m talking about. Someone asks you, “so what do you do?” and you generate their interest by telling them what you do in an enticing way, hopefully garnishing their interest long enough that they want to know more. It goes like this:
“So what do you do?”
“You know how people struggle with money? (and they nod yes) Well I help them find money they don’t know they have”.
They never mention that they are an accountant.
Or … people are taught to rhyme off their value proposition. It’s usually a paragraph that requires time to memorize so it has some ping to it. The only problem is, the person they say it to has to decipher what they say. You almost want to ask say, “Ok. Now tell me what you really do for a living”.
A few weeks ago I was at an event where the speaker was leading a workshop on “How to Network”. When they started to teach people the importance of an “Elevator Speech”, they said: “Let me give you an example. Here’s mine”. And he proceeded to read us his paragraph. Need I say more? If it worked, why couldn’t he just “say it”. Why the piece of paper?
The “30-Second Commercial” concept was rooted in the corporate environment, directed at people who had ambitions to climb the ladder. In event they should run into an executive, like the President, in the elevator - they were groomed to know what to say to grab the executive’s attention in 30 seconds. Generally speaking that’s how long they would have in the elevator with the person of interest.
With the advent of the Entrepreneurial Renaissance, business people were taught to do the same thing but in the networking arena.
I don’t know about you, but I can sniff these speeches out a mile a way. They don’t entice. They only intrigue me in terms of how creative people can be, telling me what they do without actually naming or claiming what they do. Elevator pitches sound contrived, fake and don’t help build genuine authentic relationships. Well, not usually.
Here’s my suggestion. Do yourself a favor. Ditch the 30-second elevator pitch. Reinvest the time it would take you to write it, memorize it, practice it, botch it, re-write it, memorize it, practice it … and still feel uncomfortable with it … and replace it:
When someone asks you, “so what do you do?” Tell them. “I’m an Accountant”. “I’m a Lawyer”. “I’m a Car Salesman”. “I’m a Career Consultant”. “I’m a Software Developer”. “I’m a Construction Contractor”. “I’m an Internet Marketer”. “I’m a Web Designer”. etc.
Likely the person your speaking with will say something like, “Really? How long have you been doing that? ” or something similar.
This is what you can practice: Be yourself and how to engage others in real conversation. That means sharing something about what you do and who you are - and then reciprocating by being genuinely interested in what they do and who they are.
That’s it. Nothing complicated. Let the best of who you are shine. And show interest in the other person.
Meeting people is not about selling yourself to anybody. Give people a chance to know you first. Build relationship. Believe me, if they are interested in what you have to offer, or know someone who possibly is, the conversation will direct itself accordingly.
Trust in yourself. The 30-Second Elevator Pitch is an outdated antiquated form of communication in today’s Entrepreneurial Renaissance.