Did you ever had that moment where you are sitting in a room full of people and some contest was going on? Then suddenly the crowd’s attention goes up and the speaker on stage says: “And the Winner is…” a couple of seconds filled with extra silence…and then your name pops up! What? Was that my name? Sure? People start to look your way and spots find a way to you. You get up and slowly move towards the stage. Almost there, you realize this is actually happening! And you start to smile 🙂
This is exactly what happened to me a couple of days ago! Where was I and what was going on? Let me start from the beginning. As you know, I am a public speaker and share my message regularly on stage. Several friends asked me if I would join the Professional Speakers Assiociation (PSA). I am already a member of so many organisations that I intended to decline. People from all over the world suggested me to do that, some insisting more than others 🙂 So, finally, last tuesday, I decided to join PSA Holland, the Dutch chapter (no Belgian yet!) of the Global Speakers Federation (GSF). One of the goals that I made that day was to be on stage for them on their next convention (honestly I was thinking of 2011!). And I enrolled for the PSA Holland 2010 Convention immediately afterwards. This convention took place last weekend.
So, upon arriving, I registered and started to network a bit. Jan Vermeiren was also present and he introduced me to some of the people he knew. One of them was Christine Morlet, negociation expert and organizer of the “Elevator Pitch”-challenge. She asked if I where interested in joining a game and of course I said yes, actually not sure what I said yes too 🙂 Anyway, she explaines that at this PSA convention they are holding an “Elevator Pitch”-contest. The only thing I need to do, is present myself on stage in less than 120 words and less than 2 minutes. Most participants enrolled for it before the event and some backed off and so she was a couple of contestants short. So, I volunteered. Was that smart? I’ll answer that later on…
I presented my “Elevator Pitch” and was already satisfied that I got the visibility, let alone the feedback from the jury. It was well organized and they had a life voting-system (Sendsteps for more info). Because I was sitting behind the camera-man, I wasn’t really paying much attention to the scoreboard. But you know what happened next, right? Exactly! Before I knew it, I was on my way to the stage and jumped right on it! With a big smile, because I had won! And the Winner is Bert Verdonck with 52% of the votes (Can you believe it?)! Yes, the first price is a relax weekend in the Provence (France), thanks for asking 🙂
What just happened here?
Let me share you my personal “Elevator Pitch” according to the above rules and share some of the feedback that I got, from the jury and other participants.
“Most professional speakers are always looking for an audience, right? How fast can you be on stage before your target audience? We all want a shortcut! As the newest PSA Holland member, I did it in less than 3 days to be here in front of you! That is exactly what I do. Shortcuts! With Genius Shortcuts I teach you practical tools and tips to save you 2 hours/day or hack away other frustrations. I am a lifehacker and I help people through keynote speaking, trainings and workshops. So, think about how you would feel if one of your biggest frustrations disappeared forever? Come and see me afterwards and I will share free Genius Shortcuts so you can feel happier!”
Some of the feedback that I received:
- Relaxed, great & pleasant voice, to the point, looked at the audience and the jury, great timing, radiant, great connection with the audience, fully present on stage, you walk your talk: you speak easy & simple, very good pitch, clear message from the start, well developed pitch, great impact, engaging, surprising opener, good pause and excellent posture.
- Points to improve: wear your jacket (I forgot to put it on before walking on stage!), take more time (I only used 1 min instead of 2, so more room for extra details), not always clear what it really is about (lifehacking?), start smiling before you get on stage, explain better, give more examples, can be more confident, a bit too vague and explain more who your target audience is.
I am really thankful for all the feedback that I got and I am looking forward to sharpen this elevator story even more.
Why do I tell you all this? So you know how important it is to know your own Elevator Pitch. And to look for your Genius Shortcuts to find an audience or clients faster. Of course, it is also proof that you don’t have to be a longtime member to get the necessary visibility. Finally, it is important to receive feedback from other professionals, so that you improve. If no one ever tells you what you could do to improve, you don’t move forward, let alone become better at what you do…