Career Magazine

15 Seconds Or Less

By Linsibrownson @CleverSpark

There are a lot of cliches in marketing, but the one I’ve always hated the most was the 15 second elevator pitch – the spiel that you give to people when they ask “So what do you do?”  In theory, you’re supposed to be able to give a thorough rundown of your business in the time it takes to go from one floor to the next while trapped in an elevator.  But really it’s meant to keep people from getting bored with you.

I’ve never liked it because it usually comes off as cheesy and rehearsed.  Cue the salesman smile and wink…yuck.

15 Seconds or Less

I also never liked it because I wasn’t very good at it.  Until recently.

When I began developing the branding for Spark Collaborative I was really afraid of using buzzwords – I didn’t want to turn people off or sound in-credible.  So I put my own advice into practice and looked DEEP into the heart of my business and myself.  Asking myself 3 Important Questions, I devised the personality of my company and what we wanted the business to do.

Once those elements were clear I was able to pretty quickly put pen to paper and figure out what my messaging would be.  My next step, of course, was to practice.

While driving to my next networking event I practiced this little ditty as many times as I could.  I HAD to make it sound authentic, so I pretended to have conversations with people where I would throw this in.

If you’ve ever taken a language class, and had to practice your conversation skills with a partner, this is kind of how it went…except I was a crazy person alone in my car having a conversation.  Lucky for me, people probably thought I was on my bluetooth.

I know it sounds silly, but guess what?  I rocked it at that event.  On my way home that night and practiced a few different ways of saying the same thing.  Then I wrote those down in the same Evernote doc where I was keeping my branding notes.  At every event since then I have gotten a little better at telling people what I and we (the company, collectively) do for people.  No wink, no twitching, just a genuine explanation.

15 Seconds or Less

The key is to always keep in mind the WHY of your business.  Why do you do what you do? When you feel authentic you come across that way.

Footnote: If you need an actual person to ‘practice’ on, find a friend or your local Small Business Association – they have coaches and classes where you can do just that.

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