THE T3C BLOG
Tips and Tricks, Thought Leadership on Marketing Communications, Sales, Content, Writing and the Occasional Random Post!

  • Wednesday - February, 13, 2019

    Stop Making Elevator Speeches

    Barbara Reed - - No Comments.

    Here is a great article to stop telling people what you do and start making meaningful connections.

    Never Again Give An Elevator Speech

    October 25, 2015 by samhorn

    “It’s not about you. It never was.” – actress Diane Keaton.

    Do you know anyone who likes listening to a speech? Me neither.

    Speeches are lectures. Who wants to be lectured?

    That’s why, from now on when someone asks, “What do you do?” never again TELL them.  What?! Here’s an example to show what I mean.

    Years ago, I was on a speaking tour with my sons. We had a night free in Denver, so we went downstairs to ask the concierge, “What do you suggest?”

    He took one look at Tom and Andrew and said, “You’ve got to go to D & B’s.”

    We were from Maui at the time and had no idea what he was talking about. We asked, “What’s that?”

    He must have known that trying to explain it would only confuse us. Instead, he asked a qualifying question, “Have you ever been to Chuck E. Cheese?”

    My sons nodded enthusiastically.

    He smiled and said, “D & B’s is like a Chuck E. Cheese … for adults.”

    Bingo. Ten seconds and we knew exactly what it was and wanted to go there. They should have put him on commission.

    Why did that work so well? He turned a one-way elevator speech into a two-way elevator connection.  Here’s an example of how you can do the same.

    A man approached me before a presentation and said, “I’m going to tell you something I haven’t told many people. I’m an introvert. I go to conferences all the time, but then I hide out in my hotel room because I hate networking.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “I’m uncomfortable with small talk. Plus, I work in tech. I can never explain what I do in a way people can understand it. It’s so awkward, I rather just avoid it.”

    I asked, “Want a way to introduce yourself that isn’t confusing or awkward, and that can actually lead to a meaningful conversation?”

    He came back with, “Is that a rhetorical question?”

    I asked, “Don’t tell to explain what you do. That’s like trying to explain electricity.  Instead, describe the real-world results of what you do that we can see, smell, taste and touch.”

    He thought about it for a moment and said something about credit cards, online retailers, financial software and computers. The light bulb went off in my mind. “Do you make the software that makes it safe for us to buy stuff online?”

    He lit up. “Yes! That’s exactly what I do.”

    “That’s good … but don’t tell people that.”

    He looked at me, puzzled. “Why not?”

    “Because if you explain, ‘I make the software that makes it safe for you to buy things online, they’ll go, ‘Oh,’ and that’ll be the end of the conversation.

    You don’t want to end the conversation; you want to open a conversation.”

    “So what do I do instead?”

    “Ask a three-part question that gives people an opportunity to share how they – or someone they know – may have experienced what you do.”

    “What’s this about a three part question?”

    “If you ask, ‘Have YOU ever bought anything online,’ and they say ‘No,’ you just ran into a conversation cul de sac.

    If you ask, ‘Have you, a friend or a family member ever bought anything online … like on eBay, Travelocity or Amazon?’ you just increased the odds they’ve benefitted from what you do or know someone who has.

    They may say, ‘Well, I never shop online. But my wife’s on Amazon all the time. She loves the free shipping.’

    Now, link what you do to what they just said, ‘Well, our company makes the software that makes it safe for your wife to buy things on Amazon.’

    ‘OOHH,’ they’ll probably say.  Believe me, an intrigued ‘OOOHH’ is a lot better than a confused ‘Huh?!’ or a disinterested ‘oh.’

    Their eyes will probably light up and their eyebrows will probably go up. They now relate to you and are more likely to remember you. Furthermore, you now have a mutually-relevant hook on which to hang a conversation which means you’re both more likely to want to continue the conversation.

    All this in 60 seconds and all because you stopped TELLING people what you do and started ASKING how they may have experienced what you do.”

    He actually got a little misty-eyed. I asked him, “What’s going on?”

    He told me, “I can’t wait to get home after this conference.”

    “Why?”

    ” I can finally get across to my eight year old son what I do in a way he understands it.”

    That’s the power of turning an elevator speech into an elevator connection.

    How about you?  What do you say when asked, “What do you do?” What do your co-workers say?  Do your responses cause confusion or create connections?

    You might want to turn your next staff meeting into a brainstorming session where everyone crafts two-way introductions that genuinely engage people in mutually-relevant conversations that are a win for all involved.

    ###

    By the way, this is just one of 25 ways to create more mutually-meaningful communications featured in my new book Got Your Attention? How to Create Intrigue and Connect with Anyone.  You might want to check it out and discover for yourself why it’s been endorsed by Dan Pink, Keith Ferrazzi, Miki Agrawal and Marshall Goldsmith who says it’s a “must for every leader.”

     

  • Don’t Let a Communication Blunder Hurt Your Career

    Have you ever had to recall an email, issue corrections to a previous document or made a communication blunder that left you feeling a little embarrassed for not having caught the error? It happens and can even hurt your career.

    Communication Fail

    Not all communication errors can be undone

    Many people get so close to their work they no longer see the details. Often something seemingly obvious is overlooked because although your eyes see the words, your mind skips over them because it already knows what the words say or mean. Here’s a real-world case in point.

    When I worked for a technology provider one of the executives included me on an email asking recipients to review the announcement of a customer program for a new service initiative. I finally had time to look at it over lunch at my desk. I opened the email and read the first sentence. I couldn’t believe my eyes and concluded I must have read it wrong. I looked again. Then again. Nope, I read it correctly. I ran up the stairs to the exec’s office, stopping on the way to tell his admin to NOT launch the announcement under any circumstances. I interrupted the meeting in his office only to receive a barrage of angry words and reasons why my review was too late and couldn’t rival the 12 people who already had reviewed and approved it.

    I couldn’t get a word in with all of his blustering. Desperately, I wrote the name of the new service program vertically on his blank whiteboard – one word on each line – then I circled the letters that began every line. I turned to the executive and asked him if he really wanted to launch the program today. He stared at the white board slack-jawed remembering that 12 people – very smart business and technology experts – had been working with this program title for three months and never saw what I saw in seconds.

    (more…)

  • Of the many reasons to write more briefly, email may be the most important.

    Did you know, an average employee now sends or receives 121 emails per day, according to a recent report by the Radicati Group. If you are an executive or lead a large team, you probably receive a far greater amount. With so many emails flooding our inboxes, it’s no wonder response to emails can be slow.

    Is there a way to get better response to your emails? The answer is yes.

    The email app Boomerang conducted a data study and found that emails between seventy-five and one hundred words in length had the best response rates. Although the response rate diminished slowly after that, talk to any busy person and they’ll tell you they prefer emails that are brief and get straight to the point.

    Keep your emails BRIEF, number or list key points, use a subject line that clearly describes the email content, and directly tell recipients what you need them to do and by when.

  • Is your company speaking in one brand voice? Here’s why it’s important.

    Surveys find that the majority of marketing and sales executives recognize the importance of messaging in building brand equity, customer preference and competitive differentiation.  Yet few are satisfied with their sales and frontline employees’ ability to deliver targeted messages in the key areas of value and solution selling.

    The growing awareness of the need for developing consistent, targeted messages provides a unique opportunity for marketers to develop a unified sales and marketing communication platform that articulates a compelling value proposition that directly impacts customer acquisition and retention.  It encompasses every customer touch point from the Web site, social media, sales collateral, print and online communication to customer service applications and sales presentations.

    The following steps provide a systematic methodology to develop a unified messaging platform that is directly tied to increasing business value and meeting organizational objectives:

    1. Understand what’s at stake.

    When companies fail to speak in one brand voice, company credibility is compromised and the brand message is not delivered. Moreover, thousands of cross-selling opportunities are lost, customer satisfaction is diminished and brand equity is diluted.  When an organization fully understands how unified messaging impacts the bottom line, commitment to the concept increases dramatically.

    1. Evaluate objectives.

    Before sales and marketing efforts can be aligned, overall objectives must also be aligned and agreed upon.

    1. Create your value proposition.

    Articulating features and benefits is no longer enough. Customers want to understand what you do in clear and simple terms that speak to their needs.

    1. Define competitive differentiation.

    This is often the most difficult step, particularly in a saturated market. The goal is to identify what truly sets a company apart in real terms.

    1. Craft your messages.

                Organize, prioritize and articulate key messages that tell a compelling story.

    1. Get key stakeholders to buy-in before going to market.

    Create internal buy-in to the messaging to help develop internal evangelists.

    1. Train executives, sales force and customer-facing employees.

    Introduce the messaging in interactive role-playing scenarios that allow employees to internalize and practice the messages.

    1. Develop an aligned go-to-market strategy.

    With unified, consistent messaging in place that supports business objectives, the foundation is in place to create a go-to-market strategy that achieves tangible results.

    1. Measure effectiveness.

    The approach outlined above builds a platform for marketers to gauge effectiveness based upon business objectives and demonstrate return on investment to the business.

     

  • Every industry uses its own particular jargon. You have no doubt heard or read some of these marketing communications terms:  value proposition, positioning and buyer persona, to name just a few. The question is, do you really know what they mean?

    The goal of all communication is to be understood, so let’s define some of the concepts that often mean different things to different people. (Note:  this is a handy post to bookmark or share with your team.) (more…)

  • If you can’t bother to get the details right, what does that say about your company, product or service? Overlooked details —  no matter how small — can add up to create the wrong impression about you and your company. Worse yet, they can create confusion that leads to lost opportunities and sales.

    Suppose you sent out a direct mail piece, handed out a brochure or launched a website that misspelled the words “accuracy” or “quality”? The error just might overshadow the message. Perhaps the product specifications on your website don’t match the specifications in your product catalog. Not only can that impact your credibility, but the confusion could cost you a sale. I once worked for an educational company who put the wrong phone number in their school and library mailer. The phone number looked correct, but no one actually called the number to verify its accuracy. Imagine the surprise of the recipients who reached a phone sex line when they called to inquire about an encyclopedia. Are you starting to get the picture? (more…)