A motivational speaker gives her tips on business success

Debbie Mayo-Smith: Perfecting your pitch

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

You know how important it is to get that wee little elevator pitch, or few word summary of what you do. Not only get it - but get it right.

This is something that I have had great difficulty with. No, more than difficulty.

It has painfully eluded me. Even though I am a marketer and normally have a way with words and know how to talk in benefits. Well, you would think - that is until it came to describing succinctly what I do. That generates interest.

Oh the struggle! Every time someone would ask 'so, what do you talk about'? A feeling of pain would have to be carefully hidden from showing in my facial expression (because I knew I hadn't hit the button correctly) as I would stammer out an answer.

This past week I was in Melbourne, invited to speak at a very important event - AIME. Asia-Pacific Incentives & Meetings Expo. This event is populated with my prime target market - professional conference organisers and event/meeting planners.

I thought I was creative in picking this title for my presentation: Tiny Tweaks - Great Gains. Fabulous smartphone, Software, Internet, Cloud Tips from the queen of productivity Debbie Mayo-Smith.

Yeah, I agree now in retrospect. Toooooo verbose.

The day before my keynote session, we had several networking events. Seeing simply my company name SuccessIS, which I never use anyway, people would ask, as they do, 'So what do you do'? 'What do you speak about?'

'I show how to use your everyday business tools better for more time and more income.'

'I talk about using everyday technology better.'

'I show how to make small changes for great gains in using everyday business tools.'

The response has always been bland - not that 'ohhhhh, tell me more' that you are supposed to get (according to the people that teach you how to do these elevator pitches). Yet, the subject matter - email overload, smartphones, software, the Internet is something everyone uses and struggles with.

That is until I blurted out an offhand, but business changing remark. Yet again someone asked in the expo 'what do you train on Debbie' and without thinking I replied:

'I show people how to get more done in less time'.

But this occasion, for the VERY FIRST TIME, I got a brand new response. The person smiled broadly, their eyes shined in interest and engagement and they said 'wow, everyone needs that. We sure need you at our company'. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. So I tried it again with the next person. Their response: 'oh my goodness. I need you! Can you come sit with me for a week?'

Again and again I tried my new one liner. I got two speaking engagements from it that afternoon - both derived on the expo floor chatting with people as I wandered around.

Okay, so you want advice on how to make your perfect pitch? Should I be giving advice? For ages I couldn't see the woods from the trees myself. So who am I to talk? The problem is that even when you know what you need to do:

• It's about their pain point
• It's about their benefit, not feature
• What will they gain

It is hard to see past your how or what. By this I mean I kept putting the word technology, and/or business tools in my phrase. I thought that it was important. A differentiator. Yet from the results described it clearly was not. I hope this helps.

Please comment with your thoughts- or how you came up with your perfect business description. We'd love to read about it.

Written by Debbie Mayo-Smith, One of New Zealand's most in-demand speakers, trainers and bestselling authors. Debbie works with companies that want more effective staff. For more tips and business ideas sign up for her free monthly newsletter.

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A motivational speaker gives her tips on business success

Debbie is one of the most in-demand speakers in Australasia; in the top 7pc of speakers globally and well-loved for her practical, plain talking technology quick tips. A best-selling author of sixteen books, Debbie has sharpened the activity of over 1 million individuals around the world through her presentations, training, newsletters, books and videos.

Read more by Debbie Mayo-Smith

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