Friday, May 18, 2007

Elevator speech, shmellovator speech

Thank you, Liz Ryan! She just totally let me off the hook. Over the past year, I've heard a lot of talk about elevator speeches. I've even heard talk of quicker-than-elevator-speeches, who knows what they call those! And I've felt really pressured to come up with one. And when I was focusing solely on My Very Own Mail, I kind of had one down - sort of...

And it always felt funny to say. I only said it when the topic pretty much directly led there, because I just have not been 'good' at leading it there on my own, which, I find out today - is really a good thing. But let's say I'm with two moms, a PTA meeting or something, and one of the moms knows me and brings up my business, at which point, I'm encouraged by that mom to tell the other mom about it. And it just always felt snarky. I worked on saying it with confidence, sounding proud of my sweet, little business, which I am. But it kind of never came out proud.

Well, a little bit ago, I was heading over to Yahoo to check my mail, and the words 'Elevator Speech' jump out at me from the front page. I am so glad I clicked over to it, because I feel so much better now. And a little stupid, too.

Here's my favorite section from the article:

Reality Check

Maybe the elevator pitch makes you uncomfortable. Maybe it feels awkward and phony and presumptuous to spit your business credentials in someone's face within a few moments of meeting them. If the elevator speech thing doesn't feel like you, there's a good reason why: Your mother raised you with better manners than that.

This elevator-speech business is atrocious. For at least 100,000 years, human beings have been carving out a system of social interaction that says, "Tell me something, ask me something, let's get to know one another, and see what develops." There's a reason why audio business cards delivered 10 inches from your face have never taken off as a marketing tool before. They're rude!

Boy, oh boy, does that ever let me off the hook! Whew! I feel so much better. But I also feel a little stupid because I know exactly what she is saying, but, yet - I was still convinced that I needed to have an elevator speech! At one of my children's schools, one of the dads there, every single time I would see him at the school and talk to him, even just a quick hello - he wanted to tell me something about his business! He was in realty, and one day he was even up there handing out his promo calendars to all the moms waiting to pick up their kids! Ugh! He was such a pain in the neck!

When I think about him and the way he made me feel exactly like Liz Ryan puts it in her great article:

Inflicting your well-rehearsed elevator speech on a new acquaintance is exactly the same as saying, "I'm not sure how long I'll be talking to you. And it's vitally important that, above all, you leave this event knowing what I do for a living and how you can help me. So I'm putting it out there now, before we discuss one other thing." What kind of statement is that? It says, "All you are to me is a source for contacts." Yuck.

Brilliant, just brilliant! Thanks, Liz!

You can check out the full article here:
Lose the 'Elevator Pitch' by the Savvy Networker, Liz Ryan


Liz Ryan said...

Thanks Lisa! I love the "Shmellovator speech" part! I drew the wrath of a lot of networking-skills instructors around the country with that story! oh well! take care - Liz

Lisa said...

You're quite welcome, Liz! And thank you for the great article!

I can see how those instructors would be up in arms with it, as these techniques have been so pushed down people's throats!

It's like, they've been pushing and pushing and pushing, these techniques on their flocks so long and so hard, 'we' have forgotten the little tidbit about human decency, in lieu of pursuit of the mighty dollar!

Thank you so much for the visit!