How To Make a Great First Impression

When you meet someone for the first time, they instantly form an impression based upon your age, gender, race, height and weight. People will also judge you based on your body language. Do you look someone straight in the eye? Do you cross your arms? Do you stand up straight?

When you meet someone for the first time, they instantly form an impression based upon your age, gender, race, height and weight. People will also judge you based on your body language. Do you look someone straight in the eye? Do you cross your arms? Do you stand up straight? Your total impressions are a combination of all these factors. So what does this have to do with 30 seconds to make an impression? Everything! Though you cannot change your age, gender, race, height or weight you can change the way you stand, whether or not you fold your arms or legs.

Average Attention Span

In business you need to capture the attention of everyone you meet within the first 30 seconds. Why within the first 30 seconds? That is the typical amount of time it takes to ride an elevator from the bottom floor to the top floor of the building. Thus this is where the name elevator speech or pitch came from. Add to this the fact that the average attention span of a human is between 8 to 20 seconds and you soon realize how important this speech is. So what if you take longer to deliver your speech? What could possibly happen? You lose the chance to capture your audience. Once you lose their attention you’re lost the opportunity to sell them your product or service. That is the whole purpose of developing your 30-second elevator speech.

Remember you only have one chance to make a great first impression! Don’t risk losing a client because you did not prepare your elevator speech.

What is an elevator pitch or speech?

An elevator pitch or speech is a short persuasive summary used to define a product, service or organization. When used correctly it will peak the interest of the person you are talking too. As the name indicates the summary is delivered between 25 to 30 seconds. The speech communicates who you are, what you have to offer and what are the benefits.  It can some time to get your pitch right. Be prepared to go through several iterations before getting the finalized pitch.

Steps To Creating a 30 Second Elevator Speech

1. Identify the Goal

First start by thinking about the objective of your pitch. For instance, do you want to tell potential clients about your organization? Do you have a great new product idea that you want to pitch to your banker? Do you want an engaging pitch to explain what you do for a living?

2.  Explain What You Do

Start by explaining what your organization does. Focus on problems that you solved and how this has helped your clients. If possible, add information or statistic that reflects value in what you do.

3.  Add Your Value Proposition

Explain why a potential customer should buy a product or service from you. What makes you different from the competition? What value does your product or service provides that is better than or solves a problem better than the competition?

4.  Ask an Open Ended Question

The main goal of this section is to leave your potential clients wanting more!!! This step will engage your potential client into the conversation. You need to ask questions that cannot be answered with a yes or no answer. By sparking their interest in your product or service will keep them engaged and lead to a longer conversation.

5.  Now Put It All Together

Now put each section of the pitch together. Then read it aloud and time the speech to see how long it takes. It should take between 25 to 30 seconds at the most. If the speech is a little long look for items that can be removed so that you are within the timeframe. Remember that your speech needs to grab and hold the interest of your potential customer.

6.  Practice, Practice and Practice

You need to practice the speech/pitch regularly so that it flows smoothly off your tongue. You don’t want the speech to come out like an aggressive sales pitch. Remember to pay attention to your body language while delivering the speech. You want to make sure that you are not saying one thing and your body language is saying another. You don’t want the speech to sound like it was prepared. You need to refine it so that it comes out like it was prepared even though it was.

Remember to keep your business cards, and or brochures on you so that you can hand these out potential clients.   Don’t lose a potential client because you were not properly prepared.

Also you can develop different elevator speeches for each product or different services that you provide. One of the benefits of an elevator speech can help you focus on exactly what you do and whom you are doing it for. It also helps you clearly market your business.

Here are some do’s and don’ts of elevator speeches.

DO’s of Elevator Speeches

  1. Do make your elevator speech sound natural, effortless and conversational.
  2. Do make it from the heart.
  3. Do revise your speech refining it and making it yours.
  4. Do show your passion for what you do. Enthusiasm is contagious.
  5. Do pay attention to your audience and end the speech early if you detect that you have lost your audience.

DON’Ts of Elevator Speeches

  1. Don’t miss networking opportunities because you have not prepared your elevator speech.
  2. Don’t rush through the speech. Remember to talk at a natural pace.
  3. Don’t wonder during your speech.
  4. Don’t use technical terms.
  5. Don’t forget your Value Proposition

By developing a naturally flowing, compact elevator speech you will be prepared for any networking, marketing, or general questions asked by potential clients, bankers, suppliers or the general public. You never know where your next sale may come from. It just maybe the next person you meet in an elevator who happens to purchase your next product or service!!!  Now let’s get started developing your elevator speech because you never know where the next sale will come from!!!