Do you make the best out of every elevator speech opportunity? You've heard the rule of thumb;  we have 15-20 seconds to get someone's attention, no more than 30 seconds for them to decide if it's time to find the buffet table or give you another few minutes of their time. Furthermore, since our attention span drifts in and out every 7 seconds, time is ticking.

An elevator speech is not about you; it's about your prospect's needs and the emotion behind them. If you fall into the common trap of telling someone about how you got into this business, why you care so much, blah, blah, blah, you will lose them. While you're telling your story or (goodness forbid) educating them about what a virtual assistant, coach, SEO expert or physical therapist is, they will be thinking, 'I wonder if this guy makes any real money,' or 'I really don't feel like a lecture right now, I just want a drink.' Take the ego out of it by making this time about them, not you, and drive your message home.

Here are some tips to help bring the wow-factor to your 30-second opportunity. If you wow them you're more likely to create a connection with someone who may become a great resource, new client, mentor or friend.

Your 30-second message is not about educating, explaining, or boring your acquaintance; it's about sparking enough interest to prompt them to do something; ask for your card, introduce you to someone you should know, or even make an appointment to learn more. If you give them a reason to want to know more, they will act on their instinct.
Here are some steps and examples.

Put action in your speech – Instead of 'I am' use phrases like 'I teach, create, develop.' People who do are just seen as doers; people who inspire, teach and create are seen as experts. Who's the expert here?

Before: I am a virtual assistant who takes on technical tasks for my clients.
After: I teach business owners how to save time and aggravation so they are free to do what they love and increase their profits.

Use the step-process approach – Programs, Methods, and Processes sell. If your work can be marketed as a 5-step process (no less than 3 steps, no more than 10) to a powerful end result, people will pay attention. Look at the difference here:

Before: I help business owners organize their office space so they can be more productive.
After: I teach busy entrepreneurs my proven 5-step process to create an organized work environment and streamline their workflow. My clients have less stress and more profit. 

Hit home – People buy with emotion; nearly all purchases are based on a need or desire that strikes an emotional chord. Find the emotion in your target market.  What is their deepest problem, concern or desire? People are almost always looking for more money, improved relationships, better health, weight loss or to somehow make life easier, happier and less stressful. Find the need and desire and speak about them directly, don't beat around the bush. In the example below, working parents will naturally worry about qualifications and safety when looking for someone to care for their children. Which would you feel most comfortable with?

Before: My Company helps busy parents find the right nanny to care for their children.
After: Nannies For You is a licensed, bonded service whose family advocate matches loving parents with highly qualified, experienced Nannies. Our pre-screened candidates go through rigid background checks and provide care, guidance and fun for children so parents can go to work worry and guilt free.

Do you have more tips? What's worked for you? What's NOT worked for you? Share your insights with us here!