By Craig Harrison
A special article for members of the SF Bay Area chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO)
Your sixteen-second sound bite, known as your Elevator Speech, does so much more than just tell people you're a professional organizer. It allows listeners to begin to understand what you do for them, and the outcomes of working with you. Its brilliance is in helping strangers see themselves using your services, working with you and the resulting impact such a relationship will yield.
Component Parts of Your Elevator Speech
Most elevator speeches contain the following information:
· Your Name
· Company Name
· Benefits of Your Services
· Description about How You Do What You Do
· A Question to Engage
The order in which you share this information may vary. Some begin with a question or a statement, followed by a description and a company name. Others lead with their company name as an entrée into their explanation. The order can be determined later.
With that in mind, create your elevator speech with an emphasis on the benefits that result from their hiring you. Put another way, "what will you do for them?"
Listeners naturally translate your explanation into their own lives. They listen to what you do and apply it to their situation to envision its impact. Create an elevator speech that emphasizes results, whether increased efficiency, larger work area, saner systems, more presentable work space or more comfortable environment. Rather than describing the process I recommend emphasizing the result or finished product.
You may create an elevator speech built around your company name. It may suggest a theme or a set of words to tie your explanation together. For instance:
"Hi, we’re Space & Time,
the NASA of inner space. We’re a professional organizing firm that helps you explore and conquer efficient use of your office space, to save time and money. You’ll feel like zero gravity pull once we help you reorganize your equipment, furniture and files. Space will be your friend. Call us when you’re ready to ‘walk in space.’"
Your use of open-ended questions help you better understand the person you're speaking with. What are their issues, challenges or needs? You're seeking insights into how they think, how their business operates and how you can best serve their needs and contribute to their success. Your use of a question draws them out. Don't get too personal or intrusive but try to get them to open up.
Remember, although we write ours out while developing our elevator speech, they're best delivered conversationally. With that in mind, write yours using phrases that are easily spoken and heard. Using alliteration may increase your 'memorability' factor. Remember to smile and give good eye contact. Strive to deliver yours confidently but not overconfidently. And avoid sounding as though you're reciting a pledge you've memorized.
Practice your elevator speech wherever you go and observe the responses you receive. Tweak yours to garner the response you desire. Make it easy to share and easy to remember and elevate your business profile all the while. Next stop: Success!
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Craig Harrison was our guest speaker at February, 2002's chapter meeting. Reach him through his website: www.ExpressionsofExcellence.com.