Your story can grow, change, and evolve over time, but the core compelling message behind it will always stay the same.
In order to communicate most effectively, be prepared with two different stories that serve distinct purposes: the "Elevator Speech" and "The Why."
The Elevator Speech
You should be able to convey the essence of your entire business in no more than the time that it takes to get to the top floor of a building in an elevator. Think you can do it?
Your elevator speech should be less than 30 seconds and no more than 4-5 sentences about what you do. Having a well-prepared elevator speech can come in handy at professional networking events, upon meeting your real-life ideal client or when making a positive first impression with a supplier.
The idea isn't to tell your whole story or every detail, but rather to convey the essence of what it is that you do (travel planning), for whom (your target market) and to sprinkle in a few words or phrases to pique their interest and prompt further questions or conversation.
What might you include in your elevator speech? Here are the three main elements I use:
-Your name, title, and company: "Hi, I'm Jacob Marek, and I'm the Founder and Chief Explorer at IntroverTravels."
-What you do and for whom: "I design life-changing travel experiences for curious introverts."
-The problem you solve: "I use a 2-to-1 Travel Planning ratio to help introverts check items off their Bucket List in a way that is comfortable for our personality types."
If I string each part together, I create an effective elevator speech of my own:
"Hi, I'm Jacob Marek, and I'm the Founder and Chief Explorer at IntroverTravels, where I design life-changing travel experiences for curious introverts. I use a 2:1 Travel Planning ratio, perfect for us introverts, with two parts rest and recharge time to one part mind-blowing experience, so you can check items off your Bucket List in a way that is comfortable for your personality type."
Share Your 'Why'
"Have you ever had a moment when you realized you needed to do something more with your life?
"For me, it was a pivotal moment in southern Utah, when I was struck with a moment of clarity. On a solo hike in Capitol Reef National Park, I realized that I needed to design a life that was full of travel, nature and a bit of adventure. It was then that the seed of the idea for IntroverTravels was planted, and nowadays I travel the world to build the nerdy travel business of my dreams."
I recommend starting from the point of conflict-the most interesting part of the story-and then taking your listeners on a journey from the beginning. I guarantee it will hook the listener's attention, and they'll be all ears during your story!
If you're unsure of how to tell your story, or what to include in it, make a list of all the things that make you unique: Special highlights of your life, the events that shaped the person you are today, etc. Then weave those separate pieces into a narrative that is attention-grabbing, compelling and in some way inspirational or motivational.
During this short time, it's important to not only convey the essential information but also to grab and hold their attention. Sprinkle in some intriguing words or phrases to keep your listener(s) engaged or to pique their interest.
Both your elevator speech and your Why should evolve and change over time.
While the core stories will always be the same, try telling it with a slight variation each time to see what works (or doesn't).
Tell a joke, ask a question or use a memorable word or phrase to elicit a response from the listener. I always get a chuckle from people when I tell them they can read a book in their underwear on vacation, so I throw that into my speech now. But if a joke flatlines, it'll never see the light of day again.
Your well-practiced elevator and Why speeches are extremely effective tools in your arsenal! Practice them in front of the mirror, on your friends, family or spouse, and get comfortable telling them at networking events, public speaking opportunities or even when striking up a conversation in line at the grocery store.
I hope I've given you some points of clarity for sharing your own unique story with the public I know you will approach networking events and introductions with a renewed sense of clarity and confidence!
Next week, I'll be writing about the critical role that travel advisors play in fostering responsible tourism. It's a personal passion of mine and one that I hope will spur plenty of thoughtful discussion.
Until then, stay inspired.
Topics From This Article to Explore