A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That's why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.

—Truman Capote

A primary reason that many service professionals fail to build thriving businesses is that they struggle to articulate in a clear and compelling way exactly what solutions and benefits they offer. They don't know how to talk about what they do without sounding confusing or bland or like everyone else—and without using an elevator speech. Yes, you heard me, without using an elevator speech.

Kill the Elevator Speech

The elevator speech (aka: the elevator pitch or 30-second commercial) reflects the idea that it should be possible to wow someone with what you do in the time it takes an elevator to go from the first to the fifth floor.

I've been polling audiences of thousands for years on this issue. During each speech I ask, “How many of you love, love, love listening to someone else's elevator speech?” No hands go up. I then ask, “How many of you love, love, love giving your elevator speech?” Same thing. No hands. So what gives? If we don't like listening to or giving the speech, why is it still being taught? Because, of course, we need to be able to talk about what we do—I get the concept. However, in this case, the elevator speech has been inappropriately appropriated by the service professional. ...

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