Why 30-Second Speeches Can Fail

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Remember “The King’s Speech” the movie about King George VI and his debilitating stutter? This man had to face and overcome an enormous challenge in order to address the entire world.

If a 30-second speech is giving you a problem, think about George VI.

James Earl Jones also suffered from a speech impediment but now he has one of the most well-recognized voices on television.

They both struggled and overcame their problems and any excuses that you come up with pale in comparison. John Lennon had little self-confidence and was actually shy – and that’s hard to believe coming from a man who posed naked for the press.

No lecturer would stand in front of a class of students without knowing what he’s going to talk about. Actors practice their parts.

What I’m trying to say here is if you think you look or sound foolish find some friends who will be only too pleased to help you build your confidence. If they poke fun or are rude to you, get used to it, they won’t be the only ones.

People will always forgive you for being yourself and making the occasional slip. What they don’t want is a stiff one-sided lecture that’s all hype and sounds like a recording. They’ll get bored, and you’ll be able to tell – body language can be more honest than words.

You should be engaging people in a short conversation which should help you both relax – you’re talking with people and not at them. A couple of pertinent points about you and your company will lay the foundation, but too many statistics and details will soon eat up your 30-second opportunity.

People don’t want to hear all that stuff anyway; they want to know what’s in it for them, so cut to the chase.

You know what this opportunity has done for you personally and this fact should be conveyed in your 30-second speech. Don’t think of it as a speech or a pitch – it’s an interactive advertisement, an offer.

You love what you do, so let your passion shine through. Instead of waffling on about all the major companies you may have helped, talk about how your company’s product or service has benefited someone similar to the person standing right in front of you.

Of course you should adapt your 30-second speech to your audience; you should be able to differentiate between a business person and a busboy. Never generalize or talk down to people, the idea is to garner their interest so they can imagine themselves in your shoes. You will also have to learn to make snap judgments about people unfortunately, because it’s pointless giving your speech to just anyone who has a pulse.

Sticking your hand out and smiling at someone is immediately going to gain most people’s interest. Their first reaction may be shock and/or surprise.

Be friendly and confident, introduce yourself and say a few lines about how much you enjoy helping others get out of a financial swamp and back on the road to success. Your 30-second speech should always be adaptable to the situation and your target audience – otherwise you’ll end up sounding like a robot. And learn to listen.

Your 30-second speech means knowing everything there is to know about your company and products/services so you can answer questions honestly when they arise.

If you’re nervous or unsure what to say, build your confidence by writing a script and practicing on friends, in front of a mirror or on camera.

It’s not hard – you’re not announcing the start of World War II. Your aim is simple – to help people.

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