We’ve all been there…
You’re at a Chamber of Commerce networking meeting or a neighborhood party and meet a new person. Relatively quickly the conversation turns to what you do for a living. You respond, “I’m a (fill in your profession here).” Your new friend tries really hard to express interest and not have their eyes glaze over while discreetly scanning the room to see if they can find somebody more interesting to move on to.
How do you change from boring to being memorable?
Your listener is expecting you to say that you do this or that. Instead, learn how to explain what you do wrapped in a story or an example. Think about how you solved a customer problem with a solution you provided. Make it short, concise, and easy to remember.
Your goal here is to quickly and clearly state a common problem (the antagonist) that your service or solution solves in the form of a story. Obviously, if you can weave in a little drama and excitement, your story will have more impact and become memorable.
You want your listener to imagine themselves being in the circumstance you describe. The next part should be about how you and your company (the hero) came to the rescue and wiped away the problem. You want your listener to be able to easily remember this story, so they can connect you with the story and tell anyone else they meet what solution you provide because they remember your story.
You could stop here and be head and shoulders above most of your competitors, but why stop when you can really amp this up?
Steve Jobs was known for his amazing presentation skills when Apple would unveil a new product. He learned how to demonstrate his new products in such a memorable way that throngs would come from far distances just to attend one of his presentations.
When Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, he didn’t present it with boring engineering data. Instead, he pulled an iPod out of his shirt pocket and showed the audience that the tiny device held a thousand songs.
Can you think of a prop or example that you could pull out of your pocket that would demonstrate what problem you can solve?
This may not be practical or applicable in your situation, but if you can think of an example like the one below, you can really hammer home your message.
A psychologist raised a glass of water and asked, “How heavy is this glass of water?”
After a few guesses, she replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
She continued, “The stresses and worries of life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while, and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer, and they begin to hurt. Think about them all day long, and you’ll feel paralyzed by them, incapable of doing anything.
“I’m a psychologist that helps you put down that ‘glass of water’ before you go to bed at night.”
Who can forget a story like that?
Your way of demonstrating the problem you solve doesn’t have to be elaborate. It doesn’t even have to involve a prop. It just needs to be memorable. The key is to be able to quickly use the story and demonstration to connect it with your solution.
The final step is crucial to make this work.
You must practice your story to the point where you not only remember it but where it sounds natural and not scripted. There’s a fine line between the two, and your success will hinge on practicing this continually until it becomes second nature.
Your task now is to create your memorable story, come up with a way to demonstrate your solution, and practice it until you can deliver it in 60 seconds or less.