Tail Gate – Musings from the Editor

"Elevator Speech"

What do you say when someone asks you about your Toastmasters pin? Do you hem and haw your way through an impromptu discussion or do you reel off a brief, clear promotional for Toastmasters and your club. Most of us do the former.

A few months back I tried an experiment. As Table Topicsmaster I used a two part approach. I had every member of the club (myself included) prepare an "elevator speech" before the meeting.

What’s an "elevator speech"? Assume you have just entered an elevator and someone has noticed that you are wearing a Toastmasters pin (You do wear yours, don't you?). They ask you what it's for. You only have until the door opens on the next floor to give your answer so it needs to be short, say between 15 and thirty seconds. This requires several things: (1) You already have to know what you will say (You've prepared it and rehearsed it, preferably so it comes out without sounding mechanical and without noticeable hesitation). (2) It gives the other person enough that they want to hear more. (3) You're prepared to elaborate but not to take a lot of their time. (4) It would be a good thing if you had a business card identifying you as a Toastmaster and a member of your club so they can contact you to get more information.

For table topics I had two participants at a time. One presented his or her "elevator speech" to the other participant. As the table topic, the other participant evaluated the "elevator speech". The resulting "elevator speeches" included some promising ideas; however, I discovered something afterwards. You can learn an "elevator speech" quickly, but it takes frequent repetition to keep it accessible.

Whether you prepare it for Table Topics or just so you can respond to the question, an "elevator speech" is a good idea. Done right it can turn casual contacts into potential new Toastmasters. What’s your "elevator speech?"

More Sniglets …

Pupkus (pup' kus) - n. The moist residue left on a window after a dog presses its nose to it.

Purpitation - v. To take something off the grocery shelf, decide you don't want it, and then put it in another section.

Reled (ree led') - v. To reset all the digital clocks in the household following a power failure.

Retrocarbonic (ret ro kar bon' ik) - n. Any drink machine that dispenses the soda before the cup.

Rignition (rig ni' shun) - n. The embarrassing action of trying to start one's car with the engine already running.

Roebinks (roh' binks) - n. Those mysterious chimes you always hear in department stores.

Rovalert (ro' val urt) - n. The system whereby one dog can quickly establish an entire neighborhood network of barking.

Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

Sark (sark) - n. The marks left on one's ankle after wearing tube socks all day.

Scribblics (skrih' bliks) - n. Warm-up exercises designed to get the ink in a pen flowing.

Scribline - n. The blank area on the back of credit cards where one's signature goes.

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