Always Be Prepared


Have you ever been asked to tell a little about yourself or what you do, and your mind suddenly goes blank? It can happen to the best of us! Attending a networking event or industry party can lead to opportunities for both private conversations or a few minutes to address the audience. You want to be prepared at a moment’s notice. Do you have what is commonly referred to as an “Elevator Pitch?” This is a 20-30 second high points of you and your organization or product. But it is also good to have an extended version with just a few sentences that, hopefully, intrigues people to want to know more.

There are different styles, depending on what your purpose is or the venue, but start with an Introductory Speech that can be shortened or expanded on depending on time restraints. The first thing you must decide is what your main objective is when speaking. Basically, your name and what you do. Remember to smile and be enthusiastic. If you are excited about what you do, people tend to want to know more. Also, let them know what makes your organization or product unique. Ending with a question that invites a response opens the door to further conversation. If it is person-to-person, this may be easier. If you are speaking to a crowd, and you are in a definite time constraint, end with an open invitation to answer any questions at the end of the event. It is also a good idea to have business cards with your contact info in case anyone asks.

Write down what you want to say now and time yourself. Edit anything superfluous and remember that details can be added if invited to expand on your work. Then, practice—practice—practice. Be aware of your posture and learn to speak naturally, but with confidence. You never know when an unexpected chance will pop up to share your message that matters.

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