Whether we expect it or not, sometimes when we attend a networking event we will have to give our 30 second “elevator speech,” describing our business-in hopes we will attract potential customers.
Sure, some professional people welcome those occasions. They have described their services briefly to many audiences, so they feel comfortable with the situation–and know what they are going to say.
Many others, though, dread the experience. If you are among those who don’t know how to capsule your services that briefly in a compelling way, then you will benefit from this simple three-step formula.
ONE: MENTION YOUR CREDENTIALS
Probably this is the easiest of the three steps, because you have done this in a variety of settings, both formal and informal.
Example: “After graduating from the Duke University School of Law, I have been in practice here for twenty-one years.”
Yes, that’s enough. No need to mention big cases you have won or awards that have come your way. You have established your credibility with that one statement.
TWO: TELL WHAT PROBLEMS YOU SOLVE
Once more, remembering how quickly a thirty-second span ends, keep it simple:
“I help you reduce your car insurance premiums by as much as twenty per cent.”
“My company makes sure your heating and air conditioning units keep you comfortable.”
“The retirement plan my firm designs with you will protect your financial assets and give you peace of mind.”
Naturally, you will strengthen your case if you mention a client you helped recently or are consulting with currently: “The hotel we are meeting in now heard complaints from guests who saw rats and mice running through the hallways. Our pest control company got rid of them within twenty-four hours, and there have been no sightings since our servicing four weeks ago.”
Your audience will respond enthusiastically to presenters who can solve their problems-just as you want to hire problem solvers.
THREE: GIVE A CALL TO ACTION
Surprisingly, many talented professionals don’t include an invitation in their half-minute presentation. Yet you miss a grand opportunity if you generate attention without calling for response that goes beyond polite applause. Some options:
“I’ll stick around afterward, and will be glad to chat with any of you who have questions.”
“Give me your business card after the meeting, so we can set a time for coffee and conversation.”
“I’ll welcome you to my mailing list, so I can send you more information on this topic. So please give me your e-mail address before you leave.”
Keep this formula in mind: credentials, problem solving, call to action. Your next 30 seconds in front of an audience will flow smoothly, and you will welcome the positive benefits.