Gibberish. That’s a strange word. You run into the CEO, a decision maker, a hiring manager or somebody who can influence others. But, you freeze and what comes out of your mouth, no one understands. Gibberish.

And, sometimes, even if you’re all prepared, you still freeze and nothing comes out.

Jerry Seinfeld has a joke about presenting. According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.

The pressure of 60-seconds. Being in the moment. Creating an impression. It’s not easy.

Saying something of value, which others appreciate, understand and because of it, want to meet you and hear more. That’s the goal.

What does it take?

  • Preparation – Know your audience(s), knowing the people who are you presenting to. Who might you run into that you weren’t expecting?

  • Know the company you’re talking to. What’s going on with the company, with the industry, with competitors. What are the pain points?

  • Know your own features and benefits and your company’s features and benefits.

  • Practice, practice and practice.

Truthfully, there’s nothing earth-shattering with the above, but here’s a kicker to consider:  Recognize that figuring out this introductory message is as important as the content that you present.

We spend hours working on being able to present our solutions, ideas, programs, etc. and are ready to answer even the more difficult of questions or objections. But do we spend the same amount of time on connecting with the audience in that initial 60-120 seconds knowing that if done well, it keeps the audience engaged and interested to hear the rest?

Winston Churchill wrote every word of his many speeches?? It’s been said that he’d spend an hour working on a single minute of a speech.

Imagine spending that type of time with preparing your short form message. Imagine getting that person across from you or the 2-3 people you’re talking at a luncheon or a networking event or the group of people attending your presentation to start nodding their head with what you say at the outset. Imagine how that can go a long way to create the conversations that you were hoping for.

And, when you do prepare and practice that introductory 30, 60, or 90 second message, that frozen moment when you run into someone gets thawed out easily.