3 Delightfully Simple Steps to Communicating With Confidence
What would you do if you were asked to describe what you do in less than 30 seconds?
Most of us would think that we know what to say, blurt something out that has been rehearsed in our head several times, (as of course we imagined this moment would come), and end up sounding like an inauthentic robot trying to sell someone on our new business idea.
It is no secret that the majority of entrepreneurs realize the importance of your typical elevator pitch, and use this method as the primary means to talk about their work, explain their role and hopefully obtain some sort of “buy-in” from the person they are engaging in the communication with.
However, as important as what the elevator pitch represents is, its usage has not only tripped Entrepreneurs and Leaders up, but more often than not, the “elevator pitch”, as it is typically taught to be used, does more harm than good.
So how do you communicate what your elevator pitch represents without turning people off and sounding like a machine? Read on below to learn how to communicate with confidence using three simple steps that will help you to be the naturally poised, conversational, glorious business leader that you are.
1. Communication begins before you open your mouth.
Think about it. When we meet someone, we often have an internal sense as to whether or not we are going to like him or her or like what he or she has to say. We use our senses to take in what they wear, their mannerisms, their hair and/or makeup, if their nails are clean, the whole bit!
It is remarkable to think about how often we size people up, and it is totally scary to think that someone else actually does the same to us! So, knowing this helps us to be clear on the kind of image we want to embody in our work and life. Are you a relaxed polo-and-khaki-skirt woman, or are you a formal three-piece suit wealthy investor/entrepreneur?
Both are OK, and both are suitable for different people. The point is to be mindful of these impressions to ensure that the image we portray is consistent with our intention for that image. So now is the time to do some soul searching. Ask yourself, “What does my image communicate about me?”
2. Speak from the heart.
This is not easy unless you have engaged in the deep work to identify how your work intersects with your personal values, passion and purpose in your life. When people ask you what you do, they are less interested in the mechanics of your work than understanding how your work represents you.
For years, this was the biggest mistake I made when communicating about my work as a leadership coach. I used to give the whole formal speech with friends about how my work intersects with culture and even the initiatives of the President! I noticed when people went from listening to tuning out. It became quite comical at times.
So...I made the shift to talking about why my work is important to me and how it represents my passion. With time, follow up questions began to roll. Why is your work important to you? How does it represent the core of who you are?
3. Use your conversation to add value.
Here is where the elevator pitch comes in. Typically, after you have succeeded with the first two steps, people are then listening for “how can you help me?” So, add value by letting them know (authentically)!
You will know you have done this right when the person you are communicating with says, "I have a friend who is looking to get into that field," or “I know someone who I should connect you to.” If neither is applicable, a good ole “That’s awesome” will suffice.
Communicating is not easy, until you are in tune with your authentic self and possess the self-awareness to position your message in a way that adds value. Then something that was once a challenging feat quickly becomes a walk in the park.
How have you added value today?
Safiyah Satterwhite is a heart-driven success strategist and coach for female entrepreneurs, trained by Columbia University Business School and Teachers College. Throughout her career she has built a multi-million dollar organization and mentored hundreds of aspiring school and business founders. Satterwhite is founder of “Fearless & Free,” an online community designed to advance mission-driven entrepreneurial efforts.