I’ve been attending a lot of networking events recently after a few years of not doing so. The one thing I’ve noticed – most of us still suck at promoting our business in a 60 second spiel.
I’ve put together a list of what I’ve observed myself and others doing wrong:
- Not standing up
- Leaning on the chair in front of us
- Speaking too quickly
- Starting off with an “um”, to signal that you’re about to start speaking. Just start speaking instead!
- Upward inflexion (sounds like you’re asking a question with every statement) – more common with Australians and particularly females, strangely enough
- Going over your allocated time – people will resent you
- Lack of eye-contact with all your audience
- Using the words “passion” or “passionate” – over-used and cliched
- Saying “I’ve been doing “X” for X number of years…” adds nothing and everyone says it
- Hands in pockets or straight down by one’s side – makes us look uncomfortable and untrustworthy. More of a problem with men for some reason
- Bagging your competition – too easy and cliched
- Telling a complicated story – stories are good but you only have a minute to tell it so make it short and poignant.
So, by observing some really strong presenters, I’ve compiled a list of do’s for your next 60 second business spiel:
- The one huge difference you can make is preparation – it will make you stand out from nearly everyone else. Focus on rote learning the first 20 seconds of your spiel and make sure you don’t go over your allocated time
- Try to be one of the first few people to speak. Most of us lose interest pretty quickly especially if there are 20 people in the room
- When it’s your turn to speak stand up immediately, look around the room, pause slightly and then say “Good morning everyone I’m (first name only). I run a (type of business eg vocational training business) called (name of your business)
- Keep your hands in what they call the truth plane – palms facing your audience and hands held straight out in front of your belly button. You will need to practise this to make it look natural
- Speak more slowly that you would normally speak in conversation
- Focus on finishing each sentence with a downward inflexion
- Prefer silence to ums. The only way you’re going to lose the ums is by having someone in the audience count them for you. After a while you will notice every um you say. Over time you will say fewer and fewer ums until they disappear altogether. This one thing alone will make you unique
- Focus on looking at different segments of your audience during your 60 seconds, even if it’s only for a brief moment. Don’t forget the people sitting either side of you
- Tell a short succinct story about how you helped a client solve a problem – use the STAR model (situation, task, action you took, result)
- Finish with your first and last name and the name of your business
- Never say “thank you” at the end
Just by losing the “ums”, the “ahs” the “you knows”, the “likes” and the “actuallys” you will stand out from the crowd. Ironically, the more we practise the more natural we will appear.