With the rise of networking meetings the need to be able to give an effective presentation in only 60 seconds has become increasingly important. These short speeches, sometimes called “elevator pitches” compress all the rules of presenting in to one short burst.
Think about the objective of your talk. Is it to sell your products and services? I think not. Networking groups do not usually like the high pressure sales pitch and no matter how simple your product or service is I doubt that you could do it justice in 60 seconds.
I suggest that the objective for your talk is to spark an interest so that anyone who is interested can find you and talk about it in more detail later. It may also be to make people remember you and what you do, so that if and when they hear someone else asking for help in that area they will remember you and pass on your details.
Are you good at remembering people names? Most people are not good at remembering your name unless they are already interested in you and think it might be important to remember your name. So starting your 60 seconds with your name and your company’s name is a complete waste of time.
What you should do is put a spin on what you do to make it more unexpected, more interesting and therefore more memorable. I run presentation skills training, so I might start by saying “I teach business people how to talk, for those of you who already know how to talk, I’ll teach you how to make people listen.” For an accountant rather than saying “I’m a chartered accountant with 35 years experience in handling the accounts for small businesses” you might start with “I count beans”, for a florist “I soften wills and strengthen hearts” for a copywriter “I put your thoughts and emotions into other people’s heads”. I’m sure you understand the idea, you want some intrigue in your introduction.
Having established what you do, the best way to make it memorable is to tell a story. One with which your fellow networking friends can associate. Tell them about a funny incident or a particular success you have had recently.
I always remember a story by a guy who works in data recovery. He told me one of their clients called him from his hotel room in New York. The client had just arrived in town to give a major presentation the following morning. Unfortunately, while out sightseeing he had dropped his laptop and it had been run over by a Yellow Cab. The laptop was ruined and it held the only copy of his presentation. Luckily, he remember putting my contacts number on his phone a few weeks before. He called, my contact then called the local agent, who sent someone out to the hotel, recovered the data and enabled the presentation to go ahead as planned the next morning.
Finally, end the presentation with your name and your call to action. There is a much greater chance that they will remember your name, once they are interested in what you do. And of course, no business presentation is complete without a call to action which tells the audience what you would like them to do. For me that call to action is “Give me a day – I’ll change how you give a presentation, for ever”