By Phil Stella
What follows is a summary of the exercise I created for him. Follow the steps, fill in your particular details, and really take your elevator speech to the top.
Focused strategic networking can be an effective process for gaining useful information, seeking clients or allies, and growing your business through mutually beneficial business relationships. An effective, efficient, and engaging elevator speech is an essential tool in your strategic networking tool kit.
Properly created and delivered, your ES can begin interesting and concise dialogues with strangers, generate follow-up questions, and be an important first step in accomplishing your networking objectives. The following exercise will help you elevate your elevator speech for maximum results.
1. Networking Platforms. Most strategic networking happens in connection with networking platforms — various business or industry-related workshops, seminars or events. While you may network at a lot of such platforms in a month, limit this exercise to your top three, based on frequency of attendance, perceived value, and history of results. For each, answer these questions in detail:
Networking Platform A: Name and purpose of group and event? Specific networking objective for attending that event? Demographic details about those people you would want to meet there/ network with to accomplish your objective.
Repeat for Platforms B and C.
2. Your Basic Elevator Speech 2.0. Now, assume you’re at one of the above events and you meet a stranger who asks you “What do you do/does your company do?”
First, indicate how you would respond verbally. Then, list at least three follow up questions you hope that person asks – or that you’d answer without being asked – and your effective, efficient, engaging, and brief answer to each.
3. Adapting Your Elevator Speech. The more you know about the stranger you’re talking with, the more specifically you can modify your ES. An effective tactic is to “always ask first” so you learn what he or she does. Then, when it makes sense, you can modify your ES slightly.
Given the different types of people you may meet at these events, identify the three most likely or important categories of strangers and determine if slight modifications make sense for each.
So, there you are. Creating effective, efficient, and engaging customized elevator speeches based on the above exercise will empower you to network with more power and success and set yourself apart from all those amateurs who had never bothered to spend the time you just did. Good for you — you reap what you sow … and so do they.
Phil Stella runs Effective Training & Communication and empowers business leaders to communicate confidently. A popular trainer and executive coach on workplace communications and sales presentations, he is also on the Cleveland faculty at the University of Phoenix and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative. He can be reached at (440) 449-0356 and firstname.lastname@example.org.