If you don’t have that elevator speech, you need to start thinking about it. Just because your plans don’t include a writer’s conference in the near future, doesn’t mean you don’t need one. I definitely don’t want you to fall into the same trap I did. Very embarrassing 🙂
I attended a work conference with my husband several years ago. It was a great getaway 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.
The last day of the conference, I was asked to join my husband and some of his peers for supper. I was surrounded by men talking shop, so all I had to do was smile and display exemplary dining skills, or so I thought.
About halfway 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. 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. My novel was complete, but it wasn’t ready for prime time. I was totally incoherent and presented a jumbled mess.
I have that Elevator Speech now. I felt foolish and was totally caught off guard by men who were only trying to include me in the conversation. 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. Plus, it will give me practice for when I do attend that writing conference, or get the opportunity to speak to an agent/author I just happen to run into at the airport.
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.