Updated: Mar 1, 2022
The biggest challenge people have when working toward professional advancement is understanding how to communicate the value their expertise and experience can bring to decision makers. Whether it’s a new job, a promotion, or signing on a new client or customer, the message must be about how your expertise and value solve their problems.
When someone asks you, “What do you do?” do you simply recite your job title? Do you parrot your job description? That’s how most people answer that question, but both responses fail to extend the conversation that was started. It’s possible that somewhere hidden in that conversation that didn’t happen, a golden opportunity could have presented itself for a job or signing on a new client or customer.
Ditch the Elevator Pitch
We’ve all heard the advice about creating an “elevator pitch” — that 30-second persuasive sales pitch you’ve mastered about your product or service. Trouble is, the elevator pitch doesn’t work very well in the 21st century because it’s too self-serving and reeks of sales. Nobody likes to be pitched to anymore (unless you play baseball).
The elevator pitch has become marketing speak with such terms such as “value proposition” or “unique selling proposition” which only adds to the confusion. Do you even really care about being able to express the value you bring to current and potential client, customers, or manager? (Your response should be “Yes!”)
You Need "Talking Points" to Create a Conversation
Regardless of whether you are a first-line manager, a director, or any other role, we all should have a way that more clearly communicates the value of that experience we provide to others — and that value can be something as simple as a brief talking point. Talking points are far more effective when they are divided into two parts: First is a setup statement that is offered in response to the question, “What is it that you do?” or “What line of work are you in?” Your response to the setup statement must be designed as a “hook” to get the party to ask, “How do you do that?”
Here’s an example: I was at a conference networking event last year when I was approached by an individual who started some small talk. I could see by his name badge he was director-level executive. I asked him, “So, what are you looking to take away from this conference?” and his response gave me information I could use for possible followup. He asked me what I did and I replied, “I help executives just like you lead smarter, act faster, and get breakthrough results while being heard and getting noticed.” He then asked, “How do you do that?” which then opened the door for me to convey the value and brand experience my programs provide to executives.
Three Important Characteristics You Need to be a Presence-Driven Leader
Leadership is a hot topic today and training and development budgets worldwide will be increasing through 2022 to better develop leaders. According to C-Suite executives, the most sought-after skills for future leaders are soft skills, and of those soft skills, leadership presence tops the list.
Presence defies a one-size-fits-all definition, but someone with presence has been described as “a feeling that a person radiates when others observe how they gracefully, or seamlessly, interact with other people, other environments and different incidents and occasions.” Leadership presence embraces the elements of emotional intelligence, and more.
Engagement, positioning and influence are three important characteristics of presence-driven leaders that combine to create allies, advocates, clients, customers, fans and followers.
Working with setup statements and talking points will accelerate the ongoing development of your own platform of value and expertise. The hard work comes after where you’ve spent hours developing and fine-tuning your setup statements and talking points to paint a picture of the brand experience clients, customers, and others get interacting with your company, your product, or your service.
Understanding how to: (1) apply engagement, positioning, and influence strategies to strengthen your leadership presence and, (2) designing those “pre-suading” questions to ask decision makers that place you in a future scenario of being hired and working together with them is the pathway to leadership success.