Repeating yourself doesn’t make your message any clearer

One of the delights of 21st century business meetings is the elevator speech. Its purpose is to introduce a perfect stranger to the most important aspects of your business in one minute, 30 seconds or less, and is used as the vocal equivalent of a business card.

But how many business cards do you read again and again? None? So why do people expect you to listen to elevator speeches week after week? Don’t they realise they are boring you?

Just as repeating something in English to a non-English speaker will not enable them to understand it, so trotting out your elevator speech will not interest people, especially the same people. Think of those mindless radio announcements and jingles that you try to ignore every day. Think of the endless repeats of television programmes you decide you can’t bear to watch again. Even Little Britain, that favourite UK television comedy, is going stale because the BBC is repeating it week after week. Repetition does not guarantee that anyone will take notice and it is likely to put people off.

So what do you do if you go to business meetings and need to present yourself? Talk naturally.

It sounds easy and it is. You manage it when talking to colleagues, meeting family or socialising with friends, so why not at other times? Probably due to self-consciousness leading to a lack of confidence. But you can do it; you know you do it. All you have to do is practise and forget that you’re addressing a business audience: think of them as friends.

That way, you’ll be able to talk about anything you want and your audience will take more notice than when you used to repeat your elevator speech.

If you’re in business, you have knowledge and experience that other businesses and people need. Let your expertise dazzle them when you talk naturally in public.

Robert Zarywacz