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A Duck Walks into a Bar 
Tuesday, June 09 2009

I do a lot of networking, so naturally, I hear a LOT of elevator speeches. Some are great, some are good, some are not so good, and some are simply awful.

What's really weird is that some of the not-so-good elevator speeches could be great, but they are delivered poorly.  Poor delivery can kill a great elevator speech, especially if you're in a looooooong line of folks introducing themselves.

I've heard people commit every verbal crime you can imagine against perfectly good elevator speeches, and then wonder why they aren't getting a good reaction. (Because sometimes they DO get a reaction, but they don't like it.)

Here's a clue: If you mumble, whisper, slur, shorten, rewrite on the fly, or recite it so quickly that it- sounds-like-one-long-word-with-no-inflection-or- point-of-interest, even the greatest elevator speech is going to tank.

And if your elevator speech is the least bit threatening, or frightening (believe me, it happens), you will not get the type of positive response you want. The response you want is "I want that," not "Oh Heaven help me!"

So when you're at a meeting, and you are the 47th person to introduce yourself as the host jumps from person to person at the giant networking meeting, SMILE. Speak up. Inject some life, some interest, some intensity into your elevator speech.

Sure, they've all heard it before, but today might be the day they hear what they want to hear, so say it like you mean it, for all to hear and remember. And don't forget to add a little pizzazz to your elevator speech, especially if you want to stand out.

Speaking of standing out, last week I was at one of those huge networking events in which the self-introductions were seemingly endless. Of all the 70-some introductions that I heard, only one really stood out.

It's not often that I am bowled over by an introduction, but that day, I was WOWed, as was the crowd at that meeting. It happened like this:

One guy stood up to take the mike from the host, and after a brief glance at the floor, he raised his head and looked around the room.

"A duck walks into a bar," he said, followed by the briefest of pauses, during which a tremendous burst of laughter gurgled up from the crowd.

"And the bartender said, I'm John Gaynor with AFLAC insurance," he continued. Now, I am pretty sure he said more here, but I didn't hear it because the laughter turned into a standing ovation.

The lesson here is that if you really want people to HEAR you, you have to get their attention first. And in the company of a lot of elevator speeches, you have to do something to make yours stand out.

When I sat down with John one morning soon after that meeting, he told me that he made up that intro on the spot, because he just didn't want to say the same old thing one more time.  He has a great new elevator speech now, which is "I help working families protect their income," but I hope he continues to introduce it with his comedic flair, because he certainly got the attention of every person in that room.

Now you don't have to create a great comedic routine to draw attention to your introduction, but you don't have to bore yourself (and your listeners) to tears, either.  Have some fun and play with it (just don't change your message or you'll confuse folks).  You'll find you get more attention if you inject a little "you" in your introduction.

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About the author
Veronika (Ronnie) Noize, the Marketing Coach, is the author of "How to Create a Killer Elevator Speech" and "How to Double Your Business in 30 Minutes a Day." A dynamic speaker and unconditionally supportive coach, Ronnie helps small businesses attract more clients.  Ronnie's web site is a comprehensive resource with free articles and valuable marketing tools for small office/home office business professionals.  Visit her web site at, or call her at 360-882-1298.

Author's note: You're welcome to use this article as content for your own ezine or web site!  Just make sure that the article remains complete and unaltered (including the "About the author" info and copyright line at the end), and that you send a copy of your reprint to You may also use my photo (found on my home page at with the article.

A Duck Walks into a Bar:  How to Get Attention with Your Introduction © 2005 Veronika Noize. All rights reserved.

Posted by: By Veronika (Ronnie) Noize, the Marketing Coach AT 11:32 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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"I help small businesses attract more clients."
~Veronika Noize, the Virtual Marketing Coach

Veronika Noize LLC
The Virtual Marketing Coach

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