Ep. 89 – Your Elevator Speech – 6 Mistakes to Avoid

Many people need to reinvent their role or business these days because of global changes. This often means meeting new people and branching out your network. To that end, you need a short intro that’s clear, memorable and captivating. In this episode, we’ll cover how to avoid 6 common mistakes when introducing yourself to potential new connections. 




  2:45  – Why elevator speeches can make a huge difference         

  5:3 –  How to create an entry point for people to follow up 

  9:15  –  A quick trick for being memorable 

11:30  –   How to get over common concerns when networking




Explore Your Passions – Create an “Expertise Mission Statement” 


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Below is a machine-generated transcript and therefore the transcript may contain errors.


This is Episode 89 – Your Elevator Speech – 6 Mistakes to Avoid. Do you need a quick and easy way to be memorable when meeting new people? In this episode, we’ll cover how to be memorable in one minute or less. I’m Carla Rieger and you’re listening to the Mindstory Speaker podcast.


As the world changes, how we belong to the world will need to change. Old roles and businesses and careers are going away, or changing rapidly. New groups are forming, new focuses. Necessity is the mother of invention, so we’re moving into a time when new inventions are probably going to skyrocket. I’m not just talking in tech, but in how organizations are run, structured. How we provide education, how we provide health care, how the world of finance works, how communities function together, how we help each other. Now is ripe time for the type of people who are open minded to how they want to affect positive change in the world. As such, now is a good time to start revisiting who you are, what you stand for, how you want to contribute. That’s going to require finding new connections in many cases, whether live or online.

The problem is many people are unclear. It does require some introspective time, research, trial and error. To get you started on that, try doing my free Expertise Mission Statement process. It takes a few minutes and will help you gain clarity. Just go to MindStoryAcademy.com/Free and find the Explore Your Passion worksheet on that page. I’ll also put the direct link in the shownotes. So, you may not need that at this point, because you already know who, what, where, when and how – when it comes to introducing  yourself. But just make sure it’s memorable and it sticks.

Whether it’s live or online, most people say very little when introducing themselves, or do it in a non memorable way.  By avoiding the 6 mistakes I’m covering today, you can turn that around. The phrase “Elevator Speech”, in case you don’t know, came from the idea that sometimes you can meet amazing people in an elevator but the ride only takes 1 minute or less so you have to capture attention quickly.

Your short introductory speech is one of the hardest kind of speech is to do. It can take several tries until you get it right. And you may keep having to change it up slightly depending on the situation you’re in.  But once you have it, those introductory sentences can create the first connection with the right kind of people.

Think of someone who gave their elevator speech to you and it was totally not memorable. They said something about themselves and either the content, wording or style or delivery was unclear, uninteresting, or outright unappealing. It happens regularly, and you’ve probably introduced yourself like that many times, and that’s okay. You don’t always need to be memorable, clear, interesting and appealing. But if you don’t know how to do that when a great potential opportunity comes your way, you might be missing out.

Now do you have a memory of someone who gave a short intro to themselves that really hooked you? Why did it hook you? Let’s see if we can deconstruct it. I’ve helped people with this for years and so I’ve distilled down the typical mistakes made and how to avoid them in 6 ways. You may have seen or done these yourself.

Of course the first one is being UN-MEMORABLE. Here are typical ways that happens.  Like, apologizing for yourself. “Hi, I’m Ronni and I’m really not used to doing this sort of thing, I’m kind of nervous. Also, I’m kind of hungover and I’m jet lagged. I got a hangnail. It’s not a good day.” Have you ever seen people do something like that? You’re like, “I don’t want to hear that.” If you got stuff going on just fake it till you make it. Just get out there and say whatever is relevant to the people there. It’s more honoring to them, than making excuses for yourself. Yes, everyone has hard days and there are times and places to talk about that, but not usually when you’re first meeting a person, unless the whole purpose of that relationship is they are there to help you like a nurse, or coach or counsellor.

So, I recommend no disclaimers, that’s a big one.  You can also be unmemorable by offering nothing that your listeners can specifically respond to. I heard this guy say this. “Hi. My name is Eric and I’m just here to meet people.” Then, he sat down again. So, people have no context.  Give people an entry point to make them more comfortable to reach out to you. We’ll talk about that in a moment.

The 2nd is creating confusion. “Hi. I’m Wendy and I do print advertising, dog walking and I manage my building, I have a network marketing business selling outstandingly good health products, and I grow kombucha in my basement.” They go on and on and on and you’re like, “I don’t remember anything you just said.” Pick one thing if you do a lot of things, like, “Hi. I’m Wendy and I have this great home-based business. I used to have this job and I’d never have time with my kids and I was really tired a lot. I discovered an energy drink that’s all natural that helped me get off coffee, and now I am one of the distributors, so now and I get to stay home with my kids, and I’m making more money than I did with my job, and I set my own hours, so I’m loving my life now. I like to talk to other moms who might relate.” She’s going to get far more people either wanting to connect with her or refer her, right?

The 3rd one is all features, no benefits. Say you sell skin care online. It’s where you start talking about the ingredients in your product, how many people use it, but give no translation as to why that might be of benefit for those particular people listening.  Why is that ingredient important for those particular people listening, and how does it compare to similar products that don’t use that ingredient? Why is it important that x number of people are now using it.

The 4th one is – no call to action. See if you can say something like… here’s a link to go to needs assessment to  find out your skin type, or I have a free PDF checklist if you give me your email address.”             Have you ever gone to a grocery store and somebody is giving a free juice sample, and you drink the juice and you like it. So, then you go and buy it off the shelf? What are the chances that you would’ve bought that juice if you didn’t get a chance to taste test? Do you have a form of taste testing what you are offering to people? If you share information it might be a podcast like this, or a free webinar, or a video, or a social media post with links to a free download. If you sell a product, it would be a small sample. Or if you offer a service like coaching it would be a short sample free session. You can also give out a short audio or video or book that gives people a flavor of who you are or what you’re offering so that they can then decide if they want more.  They need to know that you could potentially help them solve a problem or reach a goal.

The 5th one is – forgetting to repeat your name at the end.  If people are going to talk to you, they will forget your name if you said it at the beginning, but if you say it twice, and is the last thing you said, chances are they will feel more comfortable following up to you and saying, hi Mark, I like what you were saying… and then they will feel more comfortable jumping into a conversation with you. A way to remember your name is always helpful, too, like “My name is Carla, spelled with a C as opposed to a K”. So people are now visualizing my name in their head which makes it more memorable. If they type my name into the internet they are more likely to find me with the proper spelling.

The 6th one is wrong group.  One other thing to think about when attending a group event, live or online, is to really find out who is attending. Some of my clients do amazing elevator speeches, but then nobody follows up with them afterwards.  It’s just because, there’s no one in the group who  is a good fit. That can be okay if you’re not looking for potential new clients, or resource providers. But if you are, that can be disheartening. So really think about who’s going to be attending a group event, if you’re going there specifically to network and prospect. I had a client who offered anti-aging supplements. She was often going to networking events full of other people with antiaging products. I said, “Why don’t you go to a  networking event that you think would be full of people over 40, but not necessarily with anti-aging as a focus?”  She went to  an online meetup event for midlife solopreneurs. She got lots of follow up from that meeting.

So, here’s a case study of a client of mine who I will call Mark who told me – I’m bad at introducing myself. I just say – I’m in career transition. But when he just added in that he’s been in the construction industry but had to let his company go due to the pandemic. He didn’t want to have a job as he hadn’t had a job in 20 years, and he didn’t want to start a whole new business from scratch. He was open to ideas. That gave people an opening to talk to him. It was a bit more vulnerable, but he was amazed at how many other people were in his position. Several people introduced him to various possibilities. The one that stood out was a company looking to meet potential franchisees.  So he has an intial meeting with a recruiter, then gets online and researchers the company, the industry, does the math, tries some of the products that serve the construction industry, then met some of the people who were franchisees. And finally he said yes and loves it. So, that little bit of background on himself made a huge difference. So, think about that for yourself. How can  you be a little more specific, memorable, vulnerable, open?

Lots of people are secretly concerned no one will connect, be interested, but you just need to reframe it. So, say you meet 38 new people in a one week period, and only two out of 38 people feel like an interesting connection. So you can think of it as 36 people not interested which can lead to inertia when it comes to reaching out to others. Or, you could think about those 36 people as maybe now or later being able to refer you to someone else. Because, people go networking who like to socialize, they are interested in people, and many of them just like to be helpful. Or they might have something to offer you. So it’s worth talking to as many people as possible, because they might be the perfect mortgage broker for you,  or know about a new piece of software you need.

So just remember, be succinct, specific and memorable with a bit of vulnerability thrown in, which might mean editing and trying it out on people, and editing again. Then, memorize it, so it just rolls off your tongue easily. Have it written somewhere you can easily cut and paste from, like a word doc or evernote. Because you maybe introducing yourself in writing online somewhere as well.

So that’s it for today…if you ARE in career transition or reinventing your business or just lack clarity on what you do and who you serve try doing my free Expertise Mission Statement process. It takes a few minutes and will help you gain clarity. Just go to MindStoryAcademy.com/Free and find the Explore Your Passion worksheet on that page. I’ll also put the direct link in the shownotes.

Now, do post a review of this podcast if you like it – on iTunes or youTube or wherever you listen. It makes a big difference to helping others find out about it.

I hope that was helpful. Until next time, I’m Carla Rieger, thanks for listening.

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