I first wrote this article about 7 months ago. I attended a conference with my husband and found myself in an embarrassing and somewhat frustrating situation. I like to share information that I hope will help others, and prevent them from making some of the mistakes that I have. What was my mistake? I wasn’t prepared. The thought never crossed my mind that I would be expected to share what I was writing. I knew I would at some point, but the book wasn’t even ready to submit.
Attending the conference was a great get away for me, and a chance to focus on my novel without the distractions of home. Needless to say, I was enjoying myself and making some significant progress.
My husband and I were invited to join some of his peers for supper the evening before we were scheduled to leave. I sat quietly, surrounded by men talking shop. I figured all I had to do was smile and display exemplary dining skills-boy was I wrong.
About half way through the meal, one of the men looked over at me and said, “Your husband told us what you do during the day while he is at the conference. We would love to hear a little more about your book. What’s it about?”
Well, I froze, my mind went totally blank, and it was all I could do to control my suddenly out of whack emotions, as I turned to face this man who had the audacity to ask me such a question.
I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have an Elevator Speech. I didn’t think I needed one. I felt foolish and was caught totally off guard. You never know when you’ll come across someone who’ll ask you what your book is about. I’ll be prepared the next time.
Some things to keep in mind :
- Remember when you are crafting your speech, you are talking to another human being.
- You only have 30-60 seconds. Don’t try to tell them the entire story.
- Content is as important as delivery. It doesn’t matter if it’s well delivered if it’s boring and uninspiring. Make them want to hear more!
- If you are attending a conference, you don’t want to accost agents/editors-wait for an invite or an appropriate opening. They know why you are there. Introduce yourself. Engage in small talk, they will usually ask.
- Practice, practice, practice. You don’t want to memorize every word and sound like a robot or like you’re reading a teleprompter, but you do want your Elevator Speech to flow and be cohesive. You want it to sound natural.
- Always be prepared and show passion.
If you haven’t prepared your speech, you need to start working on it. It’s just a matter of time. Somebody is going to ask.