“What’s your elevator speech?” was a common question I have had to answer recently and with great frequency. As a member of a networking group for professional services, this was one of the “go-to” things to ask someone. It’s similar to college students asking each other what their majors are or men in social settings talking sports. It’s just kind of “what you do.”
 
I worked on my elevator speech and honed it carefully and I quickly realized that it wasn’t working. It didn’t matter how creative or clever I was with my message. It never seemed to really get any more or less attention than anyone else’s elevator speeches. And then, one day, I made a surprising discovery. The message simply didn’t matter very much. What mattered more was how I presented it.
 
I stood up to take my allotted two minutes to explain who I was and what I did professionally and I did something completely different. Instead of “selling” myself, I just spoke from a more “authentic” place and without spin or pitch I just told the entire room who I REALLY am. Put simply, I just showed up, true and real.
 
The response was astounding. I received comments and emails thanking me for my refreshing speech and shortly after, the phone started ringing. And equally, if not more, important was my realization of how I felt when I sat down.
 
What I learned was this: People are very tired of being sold. We live in a world where we can’t even go for a hike in the local hills without someone trying to give us a free sample of something or sell us on some product or service (at least, such is the case in Los Angeles – avoid Runyon Canyon unless you enjoy being assaulted with more sales pitches and the smell of dog urine). We have been so bombarded by marketing messages by so many vehicles for so long that we are almost completely immune to it.
 
And this is excellent news. Because now that we seem to be immune to sales and marketing, we can start to TRULY engage each other. People aren’t just impressed by truth and authenticity, we’re starving for it.
 
As a former marketing/PR guy I offer this: Stop selling, stop marketing and stop spinning. Just show up and be authentic. It will likely be the most difficult marketing campaign you have ever attempted. But the return on the investment will be far more than the sales figures.
 
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About the Author -

Executive coach and motivational speaker Chris M. King facilitates the mind shift necessary for professionals and organizations to achieve authentic success and empowerment. Clients experience productivity increases of up to 40%, freedom from burnout and overwhelm, clarity in times of transition, dramatically improved work/life balance, answers to "what's next," creative solutions for innovation, and an overall increase in satisfaction in career and in life. And he does all of this without ever giving advice! Chris doesn't show them THE way. He guides them in finding THEIR way. An emerging thought leader in the men's movement, Chris also works with professional men and women on accountability, vulnerability, and empowerment. He specifically addresses the issues associated with mid-life crises and Peter Pan Syndrome. He is a volunteer for ManKind Project International, a contributing author to The Good Men Project and Elephant Journal, and is honored to be working with Sam Morris as a contributor to Zen Warrior Training®, helping people achieve self-mastery. Chris is also a coach at Project Bully Buster, coaching teens as they navigate the challenges of adolescence. He is honored to work with and support organizations dedicated to the men’s movement, to women's issues, and, as brother to a special needs sister, the US Special Olympics. Chris is currently working on his first book.

3 Comments

  • Anna Reply

    Amen!! I have found in my own experience that just being yourself, showing who you really are is a much better way to sell anything…including yourself. I don’t like the fake grins or sugary sweetness that oozes from some people’s beings. It’s not at all pleasing nor is the rictus grin that never seems to flee for one moment from their faces. Fake, plastic people repel me.

    Be genuine. Be real when presenting your product. Be honest. People will listen to you and trust you more than the next guy whose afraid to disclose anything negative just to land a sale. Be pleasant. Be kind. Be REAL. I know I prefer that.

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