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Maureen McCowen and I have been part of the South Dublin Chamber together for a number of years now. We are both part of the Citywest B2B networking group that meets every Friday morning from 7.30am – 9am.
Her business is Soft Skill Success and she is in the business of helping clients speak about their business with confidence and with clarity. She has a formula for helping people communicate clearly. It’s called ACE, so I wanted to dive into ACEing it with Maureen McCowen, the master communicator.
I recently interviewed Maureen about her business in order to get some tips and advice on how we can all improve on our 60 second elevator pitches at networking meetings.
60 Second Elevator Pitches
At formal networking events and meetings, it’s customary to do a 60 second elevator pitch. It’s a brief overview of your business. It’s an opportunity to stimulate people’s curiosity.
What is often missed is that simplicity should be favoured over details. People are overloaded with information these days, so there is a skill in getting a pitch that gives enough information, but not too much information.
There is a skill in engaging and connecting with your audience to the point that they want to find out more or that they remember what it is you do, so that they are in a position to refer you into their clients and future clients.
In order to find out how and why Maureen started her own business, I wanted to find out about her backstory and her journey.
Maureen was a teacher for many years at secondary level imparting the love of Irish and French to her students. She’ll tell you she has a love of alliteration and is passionate about communication.
At a certain point, she wondered if there was more out there for her and she commenced her own entrepreneurial journey. She had joined Toastmasters many years prior, so she could learn to speak and present audiences. Many years later, these new found skills helped her develop her business idea. And with that came the birth of her company, Soft Skill Success. She wanted to focus on the ‘soft skills’ it takes to be a true professional in this day and age.
Fast forward 18 months, Maureen has redeveloped her brand, launched a new website and has really fine tuned what she is delivering for clients.
She offers three sets of training:
- Master Your Pitch – designed for people who are networking and need to understand and develop the skill of delivering impactful 60 second elevator pitches.
- Own The Room – designed for professionals who have to deliver pitches, presentations, be they internal or external to their organisation. It’s for someone who has just been promoted, who needs to learn how to achieve executive presence or to have the confidence to speak up at meetings.
- Engage the Stage – designed for budding and experienced speakers who want to really engage audiences with their content. Maybe it’s someone who is speaking at a conference or a seminar and needs to learn the skills of adapting their content for their audience.
Maureen has a three letter acronym to help people remember some of the key points in developing their content. It’s called ACE and it stands for:
So let’s break it down. Each bullet point is something to reflect upon and keep in mind when you are developing the 60 second elevator pitch.
A is for Audience
- Think of who is in the room and give a general overview of your business.
- Be mindful of your language. Avoid jargon as it turns people off.
- Keep it simple and straightforward.
- Don’t bombard with statistics or figures. If it’s an interesting statistic, then it’s ok. Perhaps a comparative that helps create a picture.
- Features. Don’t list them out. Keep it to a minimum.
- Service and Qualifications. Again keep to a minimum or simply avoid using them at all.
C is for Content
- Have a clear structure of what you want to say.
- Develop the points that you have in mind about what you want to get across. Remember your English lessons. A story has a beginning, middle and end. And so does your 60 second elevator pitch.
- What’s your value proposition? I/We help X to do Y by doing Z, so that they…
- Start off with a quote or a statistic or begin with a story, before you say your name and your company name.
E is for Execute
- Remember your time allowance and pace yourself.
- Keep a steady pace. You are familiar with your content, but your audience isn’t.
- Make eye contact with people in the room when you are in a live setting.
- Make eye contact with people in the virtual room by looking at your camera…it will appear that you are speaking to each person.
The next time you are contemplating your content for your 60 second elevator pitch at your networking meeting, keep ACE in mind. As with all good learning, it takes practice and practice, as they say, makes perfect!
Connect With Maureen
Maureen delivers a Master Your Pitch masterclass every three months, so have a look at her website for the current schedule and book in today. All training can be delivered virtually or in person (Covid19 permitted).
More Presentation Tips
You can also check out my blogs on presentation skills for networking meetings. How To Present and Effective Presentation, What Not To Do When Presenting at a Networking Meeting and What to Present at Your Networking Meeting.
Visit Citywest B2B
If you’d like to visit the Citywest B2B network on Friday mornings, you are most welcome. We are a vibrant and dynamic bunch of business owners who help each other succeed each week. Pop a note to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you on the Zoom invite! As it’s all online, there are no geographical boundaries, so it’s a great opportunity to pop along and say hi!
Let’s keep the #networking conversation going! You can join my mailing list too and I’d love to have you on board.
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