Are you ready in 10-20 seconds to tell someone what you are about in business? Can you make that pitch in the length of an elevator ride? Here are some quick tips to your great elevator pitch...
1. Concise. Your pitch should take no longer than 30-60 seconds.
2. Clear. Use language that everyone understands. Don't use fancy words thinking it will make you sound smarter. Your listener won't understand you and you'll have lost your opportunity to hook them.
3. Powerful. Use words that are powerful and strong to grab their attention!
4. Visual. Use words that create a visual image in your listeners mind. This will make your message memorable.
5. Tell a Story. A short story, that is. A good story is essentially this: someone with a problem either finds a solution or faces tragedy. Either type of story can be used to illuminate what you do.
6. Targeted. A great elevator pitch is aimed for a specific audience. If you have target audiences that are vastly different, you might want to have a unique pitch for each.
7. Goal Oriented. A great elevator pitch is designed with a specific outcome in mind. What is your desired outcome? You may have different pitches depending on different objectives. For instance do you want to: make a sale, gain a prospect, enlist support for an idea, or earn a referral.
8. Has a Hook. This is the element that literally snags your listener's interest and makes them want to know more. This is the phrase or words that strike a chord in your listener.
Sources for this post and Resources to learn more (click on links below):
I hope these few tips have helped you think through some the high points of creating a good elevator pitch. You know that the way you look is also part of your elevator pitch so I have put together some of my go-to, effortless work looks that are sure to enhance your perfect elevator pitch. Click on the pictures below to be directly to this easy professional look - so you can spend your time working on your elevator pitch and not fussing about what to wear!
Travel Time Etiquette
Now is the season for travel. That means a lot of opportunities for things to get a little hairy, particularly when bad weather or airplane/train malfunctions slow down travel. So how do I keep my cool when travel slows behind my anticipated pace?
One of the most important things I have found to help at lease keep me up to the minute in air travel is using an app. For example, United's travel updates can be sent by text or by email (www.united.com for details). They are very helpful to let me know the status of my flights. Amtrak also does a nice job of alerting me to train delays (www.amtrak.com). Updates to apps come fast (often faster than to gate agents) and really will keep you informed of any travel hiccups and as we know information is power so you can plan.
Additionally, I always have work to do. We treat waiting as a bad thing these days. To combat the feeling of idling, I always have a book or something to work on when I travel (both things in hard copy and electronic just in case power supply is limited). That means even delays don't derail me too badly. I also always have extra batteries for all my electronics. Airports are better now about plugs but it's nice to have additional batteries so you are not frazzled about losing contact with folks who you need to keep updated. Other extras you may like are headphones, glasses, gum, and toiletries. I keep all these items in one place in my carryon so I do not lose them or have to go through a big suitcase to get them.
When finally on the plane or bus, my husband likes to turn on the air vent on high. I like that because the cooling effect can literally calm you down if you have been through a harried travel delay. Just try it - it's hard to be steamed when you have a cool breeze on you.
Lastly, I always travel comfortably. I try to plan layers of clothes so it's not too hot or too cold. I also like comfortable clothes so it's not my too tight collar or high heels that makes me irritable. I have put a few pictures here of some of my favorite travel fashion and accessories. Just click on the pictures to be taken to the products directly.
Why do these things even matter for travel etiquette? It's important not to be late to events where your host has spent a lot of time preparing their home and often big meals. We want to be as courteous as possible to those that are graciously hosting us and alert them as soon as we can to delays. Thus it's important to have cell phones at the ready. Additionally, these little website tricks will help you stay away from the ticket counters that are often filled with folks that really are facing some really bad travel crises. When I get the alerts I can update my hosts or hotel. Information at my fingertips makes me more calm about the travel and I generally have a better disposition when I am informed. Also, travel delays are not usually the fault of anyone - most often it's weather - so keeping calm is really the best way to address tough travel delays. It makes others want to help you when you are the calm one rather than the screaming one in the line.
Wishing you a fantastic travel season and may your planes, trains, and automobiles be on time!
Click on the pictures below to be taken directly to my favorite travel looks and products!
I recently had the pleasure of another rubber chicken dinner - you know the big dinners at hotels where the food is always the same bland chicken.... Inevitably you are at a packed, round table in a big ballroom and each place setting has 3 forks, 3 glasses and more plates than you know you can eat on! Yikes!
Most of these rubber chicken events I attend are usually in a professional or business setting and it's embarrassing if you don't know your way around a table in front of your colleagues or worse, your clients. It baffles me that very successful business men and women can still not know which fork is for the salad or which glass at a place setting is his or hers. Why not?
It is not that knowing table manners is a definition of whether a person is nice or even a good businessman. It is whether someone cares enough to figure it out. You may have a lot of education but if you have bad table manners people may equate that with lack of caring or failure to pay attention to details. It's important to get the fork right because it's important not to be questioned in the business world just because you don't know which fork is yours! It is also important to know table manners so that everyone at the table can feel comfortable and confident in knowing what to do in these weird rubber chicken events in the first place.... It's worth learning just a few things about the big table settings, lest you drink out of your boss's wine glass at your next business dinner.
Below is a classic U.S. table setting below. I know it can be a lot. If you cannot remember this, I can at least give you a quick tip on how to figure out which glass is yours. Make your index fingers and thumbs into a "O." Your left hand will make a "b" shape and your right hand a "d" shape. This quick tip can help you remember that your "b"read plate is on your left side and your "d"rink is on your right side! Voila - no more mixed drinks!
There are lots of table manners that are different based on the country in which you are dining. Because eating a meal is where most business is done (statistic show 30% of business deals are done over meals) you should dive into the specifics of dining do's and don'ts. Two of my go to books are the classic Emily Post's Etiquette, 19th Edition, Manners for Today or for business Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands. Just click on the titles to be taken directly to these books. If you have any questions on dining or business abroad, please feel free to email me and I would love to share some of my favorite resources or tips. I also have some cheat worthy picks below. Just scroll on the arrows to be taken to some of my favorite dining products.
Pictures courtesy of Pintrest.
The below pictures show some of my favorite dining pieces that can help keep your table time beautiful and in order! Placemats can also be a great reminder for kiddos!
Have you ever been unsure about how to respond to a compliment? I know some people that are so graceful when they receive compliments and others that respond really awkwardly to compliments. While it is sometimes hard to know how to react when someone gives you a compliment, it is always appropriate to acknowledge the compliment with a "thank you." Failing to acknowledge a compliment may make them much harder to come by the next time the opportunity comes around.
You can always stop at "thank you"; but sometimes we don't know how to If we are somehow embarrassed by the compliment. If you feel any embarrassment, you can always say the thank you and quickly move the topic. For example, someone says you look lovely today. You say thank you. I got this dress from TJ Maxx. I just love that store. Do you shop there? This kind of deflection appreciates the compliment and then moves the conversation along.
I have found compliments are sometimes hard to come by so I think it's ok to revel in it a little bit. For example, if someone says your hair is looking great today, say thank you so much. I really needed that lift today. When you say things like that, it may encourage others to give kind words more freely. And we can all use that!
On an article about compliments I have to give a compliment of my own to Rockport! The shoes featured in this post are amazing! I admit that I would not have thought about Rockport for work heels but they have really made a great, all day work heel that is versatile enough to wear with you weekend wardrobe (read dancing shoes!). They come in over a dozen colors on trend for this season and several fun patterns. Mine are a snakeskin! The heel height is perfect for all day wear. But to me the soles are the reason the reason these shoes really stand out. They have great padding that adjusts to your feet. They also have rubber soles so no slipping in these beauties. You will love them and your feet will love them even more! Just click on the picture of the heels below to be taken directly to these shoes as well as the rest of this look. Special thanks to Rockport for sponsoring this post!
M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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