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Have you ever had a really small opportunity to get a point across to someone?  Chances are, if you have, you’ve stumbled over your words trying to think on the spot.  It’s not easy.  An elevator pitch is a term used for a short summary or spiel that gets your point across in the time it would take you to go on an elevator ride.

This has been crossing my mind as I’m going to be on a radio program next week to discuss the book I am writing about my daughter Aimee as well as the opportunity to be chosen to go to Fiji on the This is your Life Change program.  So I know I have a very limited opportunity to sell my story. Now as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a waffler.  People have always told me I could talk the leg off an iron pot.  And they are right.  But in this interview, I have a very limited time to talk about the important things I want to say, rather than just waffle on about life in general.  Knowing this is coming up made me remember the elevator pitch that I wrote as part of my Diploma course.

Now, I don’t know about you, but you don’t need to yell to me to sell to me.. You just need to know what it is you’re selling.  I think sometimes in business we forget that.  We think you need to speak louder or longer to be heard.  In reality, we need to be succinct. In such a busy society, very few people have time to listen to a lengthy, long winded spiel about what you do and how you do it.

The elevator pitch is an important tool to have as you often only have that small window of opportunity to introduce your business to a potential client. If, when you have that incredible opportunity to sell yourself, you spend those vital moments trying to think about what to say, you’ve probably already blown it.  You will, more than likely, forget the important stuff and stumble over your words, giving the impression you are not confident in your work or idea. That is the biggest selling failure you can have.  If a potential client or even investor thinks that you don’t know what your business does or where it’s headed, you have very little chance of selling, whatever it is you are trying to sell.

So, thinking about what you do….. if you had THE  ultimate client in an elevator with you, and you only had the time it took from the ground to the 3rd floor to impress that person, what would you say?  What would make that person want to ask to talk to you longer to find out more?  What are the major points you need them to hear?

Even if you don’t have a business or you aren’t selling something, you still have a story or a cause or SOMETHING you would want to say. So what’s the best way of saying it?

First, make some points.  Make a long list of things you’d want to tell someone if you had the opportunity to talk to them.  Then, go through the list and prioritise those points.  What’s the MOST important thing to say? What’s the second most important thing.. and then the third and so on.  Then write yourself a small script.  You don’t have to be a good writer or a public speaker to do this.  Just put those points into a conversation style paragraph.  If you struggle with it, ask someone to help you.  Once you have a paragraph, start to read it out loud, repeatedly.  Keep making changes so it sounds natural and like YOU!

Practise practise practise until you know it off by heart then practise some more.  But, make sure it still sounds natural.  Ask friends and family to listen to it and give you an honest appraisal.  What you’ll find as you’re preparing it, is that you actually learn to understand your business or story a whole lot more.  Having to be succinct in what you say actually helps you to work out the imperative information and the direction you are heading in.  Don’t wait until after the opportunity has passed you by to get ready.  Pretend you’re a boy scout and be prepared.  Watch the opportunities appear.

For the radio interview, I have more time to talk, so of course, I’m not using the elevator pitch, but I will still jot down some points as I’m sure I’ll be a bit nervous and don’t want to miss the important stuff.  I’ve no doubt the hosts will be fantastic at making it an easy conversation.  But I’m so pleased I revisited the elevator pitch idea.  While I have longer than an elevator ride this time around to get my point across, next time I may only have from ground to third to say what I have to say, so I’m getting my pitch ready.  Once it’s ready, I know the people who need to hear it will appear.

The interview is next Thursday, so I will post links to it closer to the time. But for now, I’ll write some points, put them in order of priority and then prepare my elevator pitch.. And if by chance we happen to meet in an elevator.. be ready, I’m going to tell you my story.. 🙂

Happy Pitching… Livvy xxx