How can a 30-second commercial help in relationship building? At its core, a 30-second commercial serves several purposes. Of course, it is a communication tool; the micro introduction will help you articulate your message. It is also a sales tool; it will help pique interest of your listeners to spur a meaningful conversation. However, and most importantly, it is a teaching tool.
As a high-level and basic introduction, an effective 30-second commercial is designed to give your audience (of one or many) just enough information that they will have a sense of you who are and want to know more.
Second, and just as importantly, it is designed to not give your audience so much information that they feel overwhelmed (and tune you out).
These micro introductions are as critical as they have ever been, perhaps even more so, given the increasingly short attention spans we all seem to have.
Think drinking fountain, not fire hose.
How do you articulate the essence of who you are and what you do in such a short, concise statement? The number one approach you do not want to take is to articulate your job title, I’m a commercial litigator; I’m an estate and elder law attorney, etc.
Unless your audience are other lawyers, these words will have little to no meaning to your listeners and will surely be a conversation stopper. Be mindful not to shoot yourself in the foot before you even can begin a dialogue.
I often suggest beginning an effective 30-second commercial with the words, “I help … ” For example: “I help business owners to protect their operational interests to avoid costly litigation.” Alternatively, “I help seniors and their loved ones to preserve precious assets by leveraging a host of specific legal tools so they may live with dignity.”
If you consider why you chose a career in the field you did, isn’t it about helping someone? Consider framing your 30-second commercial in this context.
Why do you need a 30-second commercial?
While you enjoy what you do professionally, most people aren’t like you. Realistically, most people whose help you need and/or prospective clients and referrals sources won’t be nearly as interested or knowledgeable about it as you are.
What’s more, people are busy and rarely are paying 100% to what you are saying. While your listener may have some interest to hear what you have to say, it is incumbent upon you to make it as easy for them as possible.
Above all else, get to the point, quickly.
The point of a 30-second commercial is not to get into every detail of what you do. Instead, all you want to do – and all you have time to do – is to ensure your audience understands what you are talking about and what’s in it for them.
The five C’s of an effective 30-second commercial:
- Concise. Contains as few words as possible, but no fewer.
- Clear. Rather than being filled with acronyms and ten-dollar words, an effective 30-second commercial will be understood by your grandparents, your spouse and your children.
- Compelling. Explains the problem your service solves and leaves your audience wanting to know more.
- Customized. An effective 30-second commercial addresses the specific interests and concerns of the audience.
- Conversational. A statement to start a conversation, or dialogue, with your audience.
Crafting an effective 30-second commercial requires some introspection of what is truly critical about what you need to communicate to engage further your audience. What few words will create interest for your audience to ask, “Tell me more.”
Practice, practice, practice.
many clients are either unsure of exactly what to say about themselves, become so analytical that they choke on their words and/or stumble along when asked, “What do you do?”
One thing is for sure, if you place yourself in high-impact networking situations, the question is inevitable. Be prepared with a well-crafted and practiced statement. Run it by your colleagues, friends and spouse. Is it understandable? Does it sound natural? Is it descriptive and concrete enough?
Create a statement and “practice” it in a new networking environment. Notice your audience’s reaction and non-verbal communication. If you are paying close enough attention, you’ll be able to discern the effectiveness. Tweak the 30-second commercial from there. There’s no one path to success. The most important objective is to start, today. Kimberly Rice