You’re no doubt familiar with the concept of an elevator speech; you’ve probably been told you should write one for this or that idea, or to snag such-and-such a client. But did you know that Ronald Reagan, the U.S. president nicknamed “The Great Communicator,” used a similar technique for connecting with his many audiences?
This factoid is just one way in which Terri L. Sjodin touts the unsung importance of the elevator speech in her new book, Small Message, Big Impact: The Elevator Speech Effect. She marries the succinct communication tool with the butterfly effect, a scientific-turned-cultural meme that insists one seemingly-insignificant action can have outsized effects.
Sjodin posits that the elevator speech has changed significantly since it was first “invented” (likening the difference to that between Pong and Wii). She also insists that the tool is suited to all kinds of professionals (not just in sales situations) and demonstrates examples of how it can be employed outside the elevator to great success.
But really, the book itself and the messages in it are not exactly revolutionary. But that’s OK; Sjodin doesn’t need to convince us that quick, well-thought-out speeches are potentially game changing and worth having in one’s rhetorical back pocket (especially in this era of shortening attention spans). She just needs to show us how to do it.
This is where she excels. You can tell right away that Sjodin is the consummate coach. Once you dive into the chapters on creating your elevator speech(es), it feels like Sjodin is your own personal communications trainer. Readers won’t find it difficult to believe she wants them to succeed.
That doesn’t mean your intentions will be realized at the end of your three minutes. Sjodin both acknowledges the long preparation hours required to perfect effective communication packages and notes that the speech really functions as a step toward your ultimate goal. That first speech, if executed properly, should get you more time with the object of your pitch, or a step up the decision-making ladder. “Just advance the ball. Don’t go for the touchdown,” Sjodin says. Continue reading »
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey
If you’re not one of those people who naturally oozes charisma, communications expert Mark Wiskup has good news: Being likeable is learnable. In his book, The It Factor: Be the One People Like, Listen to, and Remember (AMACOM, 2007) Wiskup doles out advice for perfecting your elevator pitch, mastering small talk, giving good compliments, and steering clear of annoying patronizing patter. The advice may not be groundbreaking, but this quick read’s practical scripts and sample scenarios are great refreshers before any client meeting, party, or networking event. Buy the Book
FROM THE BOOK: 5 WAYS TO BE MORE LIKABLE
In real estate, being a “people person” is core to your job. You must forge relationships quickly and earn the trust of those you meet. Say the wrong thing, and you can kiss that first impression goodbye. Wiskup offers these ideas for boosting your likeability factor in almost any situation:
1. Be specific with compliments. Vague, lackluster praise (“I’m really happy to meet with you today”) comes across as insincere, insensitive, and can even leave the other person feeling resentful. Make your compliments stick by being descriptive and showing that you did your homework. Instead of: “Great job on the marketing report. Keep up the good work,” try “Good job on the marketing report. The third-quarter demographic stuff really helped me focus on where the money is for us. I was really impressed with your analysis of the competition.” Continue reading »