Your 30-second commercial

30-second commercial
To be memorable, be clear and concise

If you have been involved in any organization or networking group, you’ve been asked to voice your 30-second commercial or elevator speech. Those critical few seconds determine what other people remember about you and if/how they refer your business.

I spent some time working with a small group of business leaders on their 30-second commercial. I was genuinely surprised at the look of panic on some people’s faces when asked to do a brief self-introduction.

It’s well documented that more people fear public speaking than death. Looking around the room, that was clear.

After everyone did a self-introduction, we discussed the disconnect between what one says and what people hear, and then further worked on the necessary precision for self-introductions.

Key elements of our discussion included these tips on what works and what doesn’t.

  • Start and end with your name, title, and company. Use your title, only if it clearly expresses what you do.
  • Avoid first person, singular or plural, whenever possible (I or we). Ideally you should be talking about your company, as a separate entity from yourself. If you run a micro-business of one, you can use first person.
  • Don’t give a laundry list of everything you do. If you are in a wedding networking situation, stay focused on weddings. If you are in a convention situation, focus on corporate and convention services. Pare it down even further by not listing all your possible upgrades. Concentrate on the services you provide most often (80/20 rule applies).
  • Define your market area, clearly. Each market has its own unique boundaries, bridges and natural divisions. If you have elected to work within a specific portion of a Greater Tibuktu, state it, clearly.
  • Smile! A purposeful smile puts warmth and authenticity into your voice. When one gives a deadpan delivery, the message comes across board and disinterested, as though your self-introduction is something you just-want-to-get-through.
  • Look people in the eye. Even in a short segment, one can engage two or three people directly, for connection. If it looks like your speaking to the light fixtures, a connection will not be there.
  • c-h-a-cakeWhy do people hire or refer you? If there is one standout comment you hear  from client feedback, feature it (if you can fit it in). “Most often, customers ask for the Chocolate Heart Attack, made with 11 varieties of chocolate.” or “Venue managers say that our disc jockeys are well prepared and always work as team players on events.”
  • Rehearsed, but not memorized. Just like putting a fresh announcement on voice mail, your self-introduction should flow, with ease. As you wordsmith your 30-second commercial, put it in writing. When you see the words, it’s typically easier to cut away the fat. After you’ve trimmed it, rehearse until you are able to perform it off-the-cuff. If you’ve mastered the introduction, it should never be phrased exactly the same way, two times in a row. It will always sound fresh. If it sounds memorized, the words will lack sincerity.

Let me give you an example:

“I’m Andy Ebon, Wedding Marketing Authority; writer and publisher of The Wedding Marketing Blog-dot-com. I assist wedding industry businesses connect with the bride, more effectively through seminars and presentations and my blog, as well as business and marketing coaching. Andy Ebon, The Wedding Marketing Authority.”

Alternate Version

“I’m Andy Ebon, Wedding Marketing Authority. I’m a public speaker, trainer, and educator of wedding industry businesses. I help wedding industry business connect with today’s bride through business and marketing coaching, as well as my blog, cleverly titled: The Wedding Marketing Blog -dot-com. Andy Ebon, The Wedding Marketing Authority.”

  • Is one better than the other? Not particularly
  • When spoken, will it sound the same as when read? No it won’t. It’s essential to practice by speaking out loud. Some words that work together in print, don’t flow as well when spoken. Find the flow.
  • Why don’t you just say ‘The Wedding Marketing Blog?’ I have chosen an easy-to-remember blog address that I want people to remember, so the dot-com portion is part of its name. I also own Wedding Marketing Blog dot-com, so if someone drops The, it will still direct them to the site.
  • How can I judge my performance? Critiquing yourself is near impossible. It’s better to collaborate with a business peer. Listen to each other’s execution and give feedback about what you heard (understood) and what is not clear or is extraneous.

See what you can do to improve your 30-second commercial. If you find any tips, particularly helpful, please comment.

And remember, if you can’t clearly express what is you do, and who you serve, it’s not reasonable to expect other people to make exceptionally good referrals.

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Education Expert

Wedding Industry Council: First steps taken to organize

Wedding Industry CouncilWhen I was a National Board Member with NACE (National Association for Catering and Events), I became aware of the CIC (Convention Industry Council).

CIC is an ‘association of associations‘ – “Advancing the Meetings, Conventions, Exhibitions, and Events Industry.”

A visit to the CIC website gives you a crash course in the ongoing projects and initiatives derived from member organization collaboration. These actions better unify the industry and serve its customers. The CIC  list of member organizations has grown, dramatically, since its inception.

The ABC 20/20 Wedding Confidential has served as a catalyst for industry outrage. Wedding Industry voices have been heard from far and wide on blogs, websites and social media. However, they are a cacophony of disparate voices, not a unified voice, with one messages.

“I believe, for many reasons, it is time for the wedding industry to form a similar body to CIC, representing the collective interests of the wedding industry.”

Public Relations is a top priority. Generating other industry-wide issues and projects will not be a problem. Sorting them out, and acting on them will is the challenge.

An umbrella organization, such as this, will have members with overlapping/competing constituencies, viewpoints and priorities. That challenge that is a reality, to be met met. An organization such as this should inclusive throughout the wedding industry to have maximum impact.

As part of an outreach process, I registered the domains, and 

My goal is reach out to wedding industry leaders, membership organizations, and trade associations to gauge the interest in building a collective body. I hope to be overrun with ideas from others. We shall see what develops.

Stay tuned, and help spread the world.

There will be more announcements appearing… and soon!

In the meantime:

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert


Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert

Why Members Leave Your Organization: Part 3

Value graphIn an earlier post on membership attrition, I said ‘most vendor members belong to associations and networking organizations for reasons of commerce.’ Other benefits may result, but meeting people, for ‘doing business’, is the dominant focus.

For organizations to work smoothly, there must be a reasonable ratio of primary members to vendors or business climate breaks down. My experience and observations have shown that a 3:2 ratio is a good one. But that’s an overall number. When you check membership distribution, it’s a little more complicated.

For example, in an association or networking group of 90 members, four photographers, or perhaps five, might find enough opportunity to go around. How about 6… or 7… or 8? Probably too many. From a membership committee standpoint, when one has four or five quality photographers, as members, it’s not the time to recruit even more photographers. Because, if you successfully recruit another three or four, all photographer members will become disenchanted, as there is not enough goodwill to go around.

As Laurel Winzler commented on a previous post, a similar outcome occurs when the number of primary members dips, significantly. Suddenly four or five photographers in an organization of 70 members, for example, becomes too many.

And this notion brings us to membership campaigns and goals. Taking a group from 70 members to 100, sounds good, but it’s too simple. Leaders need to look at the distribution of its 70 members, in terms of business categories. Then it can see where the membership is soft and where it needs no new members. The analysis should determine the specific makeup of the next 30 members, and a plan to recruit them.

Most vendor professionals do not expect the cash register to ring, the moment they join an organization. They are not that naïve. What they do expect is access to primary members. If they feel unable to connect with primary members, that is the beginning of the end. It is the expectation of a meeting… an audience with a primary member that is key. One should never put a lid on meeting fresh faces because you never know who the next rising star will be.

Vendor professionals continue to self-promote, in good times and bad; however, in a rough business climate, they make more measured choices. They will not blindly support an organization by paying dues, making donations, or other participation if the ROI can only be measured with a micrometer. They will seek other organizations and other marketing avenues to develop referrals and connections with customers.

Primary members have power. They should use it for the benefit of their companies, as well as associations and networking organizations. They should use it wisely. Not abuse it  or the vendor members that support them. Without quality vendors, events and organizations fall flat.

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog