I was very graciously gifted an advance copy of Terri L. Sjodin’s Small Message, Big Impact (Kindle), and I’m grateful. It’s a smart, concise text that represents what Business Reading should be. (And if there’s one thing you remember from me and Business Reading, it’s that Business Reading is on a long road to earn my respect. *cough* Social Nation *cough*)
I’ve always loved public speaking, because in many ways talking to a large group of strangers is less intimidating to me than talking one-on-one with a person I know (or at least know about). Large groups of strangers: Good chance they’ll never see me again, or that each and every one of them is shy so that just the act of me walking in front of them is a point in my (otherwise unearned) credibility. One-on-one with a person I know: The focused, individual interaction just might make a notch in their memory, so if I mess something up, it’ll be the first thing that they associate with me. (Or worse: They don’t remember me despite our focused, individual interaction.)
The full title of Terri Sjodin’s book is Small Message, Big Impact: How to Put the Power of the Elevator Speech Effect to Work for You. The copy I received is just under 200 pages, 200 pages of a well-guided strategy toward empowering your extemporaneous arsenal. My whole life has been a repeat lesson of you never know who you’re going to meet, so I know it really pays off to have your So Crazy It Just Might Work Idea ready in your pocket in a three-minute speech. Luck favors the prepared. Imagine if you could rattle off all your key bullet points like you’re naming the members of The Beatles. Small Message, Big Impact preps you in a very forthright, applicable – and, most importantly – un-cheesy way.
Sjodin is a savvy lady. She trains executives and politicians (and other people who have to talk a lot in convincing ways) in public speaking and communication with her firm, Sjodin Communications. Clearly, she knows her craft, and though she does mention a few gimmick-y elevator speeches in her book, the outlines and strategies she prescribes are firm enough in their logic and psychology to work. The elevator speech that Sjodin champions isn’t necessarily the persuasion necessary for winning court trials, it’s more like an air-tight package that will convince your audience of your idea’s worth.
The big outline? Assemble your case, wrap it up in an appropriately creative way, and deliver. The least empirical of Sjodin’s characteristics for elevator speech success, delivery, is where Small Message, Big Impact distinguishes itself from a potentially clinical self-help book to a truly workable method for professionals with varying levels of confidence. Sjodin puts the importance of on-point delivery simply: “Polish might come from practice, but charisma – the trait that draws an audience closer – comes from certainty.”
While the worksheets throughout the book get you through the more logical steps toward an effective elevator speech, the section dedicated to delivery forces you to get comfortable with making yourself memorable and making your speech you. (Frightening words for anyone who was never originally interested in any sort of lime light, but that’s why being guided by a text might be the answer. It’s probably the least intimidating form of self work.)
If you’re looking for something to organize your thoughts but only have the time and money for a book instead of a workshop or consultant, I definitely recommend Terri Sjodin’s Small Message, Big Impact. The paperback will be available June 1st, but the Kindle version is available for immediate download. (It’s a great read for public transportation if you’re into maximizing productivity on your commutes.)
My name is Mayka Mei and my elevator speech endorses this message.